Air Nelson Pilot, NZALPA Peer Support Volunteer and Women’s Assistance Forum Deputy Coordinator, Angela Cronin reflects on her attendance at the recent Aviatrix Conference in Madrid.
It was a quick trip to Spain recently for Women’s Assistance Forum (WAF) Coordinator Janet Taylor (Air Traffic Controller) and me to attend the first anniversary celebration of Aviadoras and the Aviatrix conference in Madrid.
Aviadoras is a Spanish women’s pilot group within SEPLA – the Spanish equivalent of NZALPA. Established in 2017, the initiative aims to expand and normalise the role of women in aviation through education and media campaigns. Aviatrix is an international women’s pilot group.
The two-day event was held on 23 and 24 October. Opening celebrations took place at the Spanish headquarters of Santander Bank, a major sponsor of Aviadores’ anniversary. Presentations were made by notable Spanish business figures, including entrepreneur Madi Sharma (Women in Transport – EU Platform for Change). Violeta Bulc (EU Standards for Transportation Safety) and Dr Fang Liu (ICAO Secretary General) made presentations via video link.
The remainder of the conference was held at SEPLA headquarters. Small working groups, which included Aviatrix pilots from Iceland, Austria, Germany, Argentina, Mexico and Spain, participated in various presentations and discussions.
The purpose was to support women in aviation by sharing ideas and information and investigating ways of increasing our low representation in technical careers – which currently sits around five percent globally.
One presentation highlighted issues, attitudes and challenges women faced as pilots 20 years ago. The results indicated to us that very little has changed since.
As it was NZALPA’s first encounter with Aviadoras and Aviatrix, we were asked to present on our Peer Assistance Network (PAN) and Women’s Assistance Forum (WAF). The feedback was very positive, with many questions and requests for information about our advanced programmes. They admired our joint union for air traffic controllers (ATCs) and pilots, which prompted an invite for women ATCs at Madrid Tower to attend our presentation. It was a first for an Aviatrix conference and saw a strengthening of these relationships.
It was a privilege to attend this international event for women in aviation, and we are grateful for the support of NZALPA and PAN to do so. We have developed some important networks among our European and South American counterparts and acknowledge there is much to be gained from the sharing of information.
Although New Zealand is small in population and geographically removed, we have a lot to offer when it comes to innovative ideas for change. We hope to continue our association with Aviadoras and Aviatrix, and contribute to the task of supporting women in aviation and increasing our global representation.
Janet Taylor (fourth from the right in the back row) and Angela Cronin (first on the right in the back row) Women’s Assistance
Forum Coordinators at the Aviatrix Conference in Madrid.
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