An initiative which began at an Aviatrix conference in Madrid last year reached fruition several months ago with the establishment of the IFALPA Female Pilots’ Working Group.
Last year NZALPA was invited to attend the Madrid Aviatrix conference (international women’s pilot group). The conference also marked the ﬁrst anniversary of Aviadoras, a Spanish women pilots’ group within SEPLA – the Spanish equivalent of NZALPA. Aviadoras was established to normalise and promote the role of women in aviation.
As the Women’s Assistance Forum Coordinators (WAF), Ange Cronin (Captain, Air Nelson) and I (Air Traﬃc Controller, Christchurch Tower) attended the Madrid conference on behalf of NZALPA. With our unique membership of air traﬃc controllers (ATCs) and pilot members, we were able to share our NZALPA involvement and career pathways with the international group.
We gave a presentation on both the Peer Assistance Network and WAF programmes before we moved into a working group to openly share ideas, identify issues and to investigate how to increase female representation in all areas of aviation.
The working group was tasked with writing a position paper on establishing a female pilots working group - to be presented to IFALPA at the Berlin conference held in April this year. The Madrid delegates at the IFALPA conference included pilot members from Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Iceland, Germany, Austria and New Zealand as well as Madrid air traﬃc controllers.
At the Berlin conference the IFALPA Executive Board agreed to the formation of the IFALPA Female Pilots’ Working Group. “The task of the Female Pilots’ Working Group is to assist the Federation and its Members Associations in adequately representing their female airline pilots to improve their working environment by developing policies and exchanging information…”, as stated by Captain Ron Abel, IFALPA President.
NZALPA has been invited to join the working group, giving us access to the workspace on the hub (the online workspace and collaboration site for IFALPA members) and the female pilots’ communication network. Captain Nina Moers (of Vereinigung Cockpit, the German airline pilots’ association) is the lead for the working group, with support provided by Carole Couchman MBE (Senior Technical Oﬃcer, IFALPA, Quebec).
Areas to be addresses will include (but not be limited to):
· work life balance, a fair and respectful workspace
· gender bias
· improving workplace environment
· pay equity, pension equity and female pilot salaries
· promoting youth – encouraging the next generation
NZALPA’s Board of Management has endorsed our participation in the IFALPA Female Pilots’ Working Group, and Ange and I are oﬀ to Vienna in early October to attend the next working group meeting. We are in a good position to gain feedback and support from our NZALPA members with our Peer Assistance Network (PAN) Peer Support Volunteer and Women’s Assistance Forum roles.
Our WAF members have already contributed to an IFALPA working paper on “Women and Aviation”- quality jobs, attraction and retention.
Stay tuned for an update on our upcoming meeting.
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