Young female engineers working with helicopters, Young woman in front of airplane with arms crossed, female air traffic controller holding tablet in airport tower office room, business woman standing in front of a corporate jet with arms crossed

Since 2019, the $8 million Women in the Aviation Industry Initiative has encouraged girls and women to pursue one of the many dynamic, rewarding and long-term career opportunities available in aviation.

Work under the Initiative to date

To date, the Initiative has invested $3.1 million in funding to support a range of activities to increase visibility and awareness of the sector amongst young girls and women. These collaborative efforts with industry partners have reached more than 200,000 women and girls, directly engaging with and mentoring more than 30,000 students, parents, teachers and career advisors.

Research shows there is more work to do. Data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that in 2021–22 women represented between 4.1% and 21.1% of employees in roles in the aviation sector which have traditionally been dominated by men. These may include air traffic control, pilots, mechanics and engineers.

The 2022 Barriers to the Pipeline report, funded by the Initiative and undertaken by Aviation/Aerospace Australia in collaboration with Monash University, RMIT University and the University of NSW, noted the importance of an inclusive culture to retaining talented women in the industry.

Almost half of the Australian workforce are women. Industries that do not fully take advantage of the talent pool are missing out on a significant opportunity and are likely to face continuing labour and skill shortages in a competitive labour market. This highlights the need to confront the tasks of both increasing the proportion of women choosing a career in aviation and encouraging women already in the industry to stay.

The new Strategic Action Plan

Findings from the Barriers to the Pipeline report, alongside a Mid-Program Evaluation of the Initiative, have informed a new Strategic Action Plan that will guide the Initiative to 2026.

Developed in close consultation with industry and released in September 2023, the Strategic Action Plan will ensure the Initiative contributes to the sustainability of the aviation industry by looking at ways to address the gender imbalance and skills shortages. It aims to build on efforts by industry to create an environment where women increasingly choose a career in aviation, and are welcomed into an inclusive and supporting industry.

It will do this by working with industry to:

  • increase female representation across the aviation workforce
  • attract and retain more women into critical careers in aviation (e.g. engineering, airport operations and piloting)
  • develop and provide resources and strategies to help women build careers in the industry and improve their economic security, and
  • leverage the largely untapped pool of talented and skilled women and direct them to where they are needed within the industry.

It identifies the priority areas for 2023 to 2026 include funding activities focused on:

  • leadership and culture
  • visibility and awareness
  • collaboration, and
  • continuous improvement.

Next steps

Find out how you can get involved: