Around the world today 600 million adolescent girls are preparing to enter the work force in a world filled with innovation and automation. They are the largest generation in history and they offer unparalleled capacity for socio-economic development.
October 11th marks the International Day of the Girl, the start of a year-long journey for raising awareness on education, relevant skills, eliminating barriers, and expand existing opportunities, whether in education or employability.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres has personally supported this initiative for young women, remarking on the “need for concerted efforts to overcome the obstacles” when he referred to systematic discrimination, biases and lack of training.
“Women make up less than 30 per cent of graduates in information and communications technology,” he noted, “they occupy less than 30 per cent of research and development jobs worldwide”.
Given the forecast growth in air transport, the sector presents a substantial assortment of unprecedented opportunities. The world air transport network employs no fewer than 62.7 million people today, generating 2.7 trillion dollars each year in global gross domestic product (GDP). These numbers are expected to double, presenting unmatched demand for a highly qualified work force.
The President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, addressed this point by reaffirming that “Many hundreds of thousands of skilled Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) air transport professionals will need to be trained and certified to keep our network running smoothly and safely over the next several decades.”
Many hundreds of thousands of skilled Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) air transport professionals will need to be trained and certified to keep our network running smoothly and safely over the next several decades.
This gap equates to roughly 67 new pilots and 13 new air traffic controllers entering into service each and every day between now and 2036, in order to satisfy forecast global demand and that would not be possible without skilled young women filling many related roles.
Research indicates that young women aged 15-29 are more than twice as likely as young men to not be engaged in employment education or training. The urge to reverse these numbers will be crucial for achieving the goals set for sustainable development, prompting an immediate call to action for skills development and innovative solutions.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has paved the way to support gender equality and young women and girls by launching ICAO’s Programme for Gender Equality, as well as the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals initiative which aims at empowering youth through capacity building initiatives and eliminating existing gender-related barriers through expanding outreach and opportunities.
Recently, at the inaugural Global Aviation Gender Summit, ICAO’s Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, addressed States, the industry, scientific, education, labour, and research sectors and encouraged them to “mobilize the global air transport community, a highly specialized sector, in identifying concrete actions to accelerate gender equality in aviation”. She added, “this includes identifying the partnerships we need to establish to support the effective coordination of these actions”.
Major efforts have been exerted on the global and regional level, yet there is much to be done on the local level. In this regard, The UN System has launched Youth2030, a strategy that aims to work with young people, to understand their needs and help put their ideas into action. On this International Day of the Girl, lets us do our part to support youth and women, and help empower them in our communities to prepare them for a bright future.