The airport gate – ramp access required for fun
“When it comes to change initiatives aimed at increasing gender parity, diversity officers often struggle to engage men, whom, especially within the aviation and aerospace sectors, hold positions of power and influence. Men frequently stay on the sidelines and avoid speaking up about programmes aimed at creating gender parity due to a variety of reasons, including indifference, lack of knowledge, and awareness. As a result, change initiatives sometimes become labelled as "women's issues" within businesses and fail to resonate with internal stakeholders effectively.” - An inclusive approach to advance women in aviation workplace - how best to engage men in the conversation about women. By Arpad Szakal
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there getting it done! How else do we get it done - with allyship. Often we think of this word as being obtrusive. Brave. Big. However, sometimes it's simple, kind, and inclusive.
I had an interesting experience with allyship on Mother's Day. A captain friend of mine shared that he was flying into our local airport on Sunday and invited the Littles and me to come to watch them take off. That day was “Go home” day. It means that the aircraft and crew are heading home and the trip is finishing. Days like that are always busy, so we didn’t expect anything but a chance to watch the airplanes on a nice day. And after twenty-plus years of taking off in jets myself, it’s still super cool to watch a jet takeoff. So, on Mother’s Day, the Littles and I headed to the airport to do some plane spotting!
What transpired between our arrival at the airport gate and watching the jet takeoff resonated with me deeply.
1. We gained access
2. We were seen
3. We experienced
Through a couple of conversations with male colleagues and true allyship, the family tribe got ramp-side and had an inspiring experience. A college friend, also a general manager of the fixed-base operator, trusted me to go ramp-side (non-movement area) without causing any chaos. Allyship. Because we were able drive out on the ramp (next to the flight school), my dear captain friend saw us and had time to say hello. Allyship. As a result, the Littles saw aviation up close and personal - noises of the turbines and smells of the jet fuel - instead of from the other side of a slanted square of chained metal fencing that's too hard for little eyes to see through. Belonging.
If aviation means to continue to innovate, grow, and disrupt the status quo to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, we need male allyship. Sometimes that looks brave and obtrusive by advocating for flexible work arrangements. Sometimes it is offering mentorship and sponsorship and taking a chance on a new entrepreneur. But sometimes, it appears like a freshly formed childhood memory of “the best day ever!” created by some super awesome male allies.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Helping people experience things that they love?
Jessica Webster, Founder and President