ICAO Council marks International Women’s Day 2021 with concrete commitments on gender equality

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD2021), the 36 State ICAO governing Council has adopted concrete commitments in a new Declaration on Improving Gender Representation in ICAO’s Governing and Technical Bodies. The new commitments include that all future ICAO Council committees, working groups, panels, and other governance or technical bodies, as well as their Chair Groups where applicable and the Council’s own Vice-President cohort, must be comprised of both men and women.

Other commitments included protecting ICAO policies and standards from gender-discriminatory language, promoting gender-neutral language for its own communications, and working to increase the number of women having access to Council level responsibilities.

The new Declaration also noted that #IWD2021 would mark the start of new Council advocacy efforts at the global, regional and national levels, and called on all of ICAO’s 193 Member States to systematically promote the role of women in aviation, and to give due regard and equal opportunity to the nomination of qualified female candidates when nominating Representatives and other experts and officials to ICAO bodies and groups.

Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano welcomed the new Declaration, the adoption of which was part of a series of recommendations from a special gender group the Council had established during the tenth meeting of its 221st Session last November.

“Reducing gender equality gaps can only be addressed when men and women work hand-in-hand to drive the needed changes together,” he highlighted, “and I’m grateful for the Council’s new and very strong commitments on gender equality which have been adopted here today. The pandemic has made it clear how diverse leadership benefits everyone, and how women and men can collectively and more effectively solve the urgent challenges of our time through more equally shared responsibilities.”


Declaration full text:

Declaration on Improving Gender Representation in ICAO’s Governing and Technical Bodies

Underlining the need to achieve gender equality as set out in Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by providing equality of opportunity for women and men in the Council of ICAO and bodies;

Recognizing that half of the world’s population is composed of women, but women are underrepresented in the senior ranks of the aviation industry, and in ICAO;

Expressing concern that women are similarly underrepresented in the governing and technical bodies of ICAO;

Recalling Assembly Resolution A39-30: ICAO Gender Equality Programme, promoting the participation of women in the global aviation sector;

Acknowledging that the nomination of Representatives to ICAO is the sovereign responsibility of Member States;

Recognizing that the Council, as the governing body of ICAO, must show leadership and deliver concrete actions;

Recognizing that words have meaning, but that actions speak louder than words, Gender Mainstreaming is a tool that can be used to achieve the goal of gender equality; and

Affirming the Council’s determination to fight against all gender stereotypes and biases which constitute obstacles to equal opportunities for women and men in our Organization, and setting up a work environment favourable for gender equality;

We, as individual Representatives on the Council of ICAO, and as a collective Council, commit to do everything possible to:

    1. not approve any Committee or working group of the Council, or any other group, taskforce or Panel, or otherwise approve the membership of any such group, with a membership comprised only of one gender;
    2. not elect a cohort of Vice Presidents which is comprised only of one gender;
    3. not elect a cohort of Committee and Group Chairs which is comprised only of one gender;

We further commit to:

    1. not approve policies or other official documents containing gender-discriminatory to or biased language;
    2. work with the Secretariat to ensure that gender-discriminatory or biased language in existing ICAO policies or other official documents is identified and removed;
    3. use gender-neutral language in our own communications in all official languages of ICAO, including our interventions in Council and other meetings, and to create a work environment favourable to gender equality;
    4. promote an increase in the number of women having access to the level of responsibility involved in the work of Council, and with this objective, identify obstacles and biases that hinder women’s careers in the aviation sector;
    5. mark International Women’s Day 2021 with its theme Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world, by starting to promote role models for the success of women in ICAO and illustrate the career opportunities in aviation in general and in ICAO in particular, and to form a pool of Council Representatives and members of ICAO’s technical bodies ready and willing to undertake such promotion at global, regional and national levels;  

Finally, as the Council, we  encourage the Member States of ICAO to:

    1. systematically promote the role of women in aviation and disseminate their success, in particular in ICAO, using the tools available to them from education to recruitment and promotion of career opportunities; and
    2. give due regard and equal opportunity to the nomination of qualified female candidates, when nominating Representatives to ICAO, nominees to the Air Navigation Commission (ANC), and proposed members of ICAO Panels and other groups, with a view to improving the level of female representation in ICAO bodies.

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