At Farnborough Airshow 2018, the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter was launched, with companies and organisations within the UK’s aviation and aerospace sectors making a commitment to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry for women. With over 100 signatories, the charter reflects the aspiration to see gender balance at all levels across the industry for both women and men in the sector.

Women are under-represented in aviation and aerospace, with only 5 per cent of commercial pilots in the UK being women, as well as a well-recognised shortage of women studying STEM subjects and taking up roles in engineering. The aviation and aerospace sectors are world-leading, and to sustain this industry we need to ensure that we have access to a diverse range of innovators and leaders of the future.

In working towards achieving gender balance, the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter also aims to support and showcase female role models to demonstrate that opportunities are available, regardless of gender.


The Charter aims to support the overall diversity of the sector and build a more balanced and fair industry. This isn’t a piece of paper to sign and be forgotten about, but gives signatories real and achievable commitments to ensure that  more women enter into our industry, and that it feels open and accessible for women to work in aviation.

The Charter looks to support the progression of women into senior roles in the aviation and aerospace sectors, and aspires to see gender balance at all levels across aviation and aerospace. It recognises that a balanced workforce is good for business – it is good for customers and consumers, for profitability and workplace culture, and is increasingly attractive for investors. In becoming a signatory, organisations are pledging their actions to help make this a reality.

Steering Board

The charter’s Steering Board was set up to drive the progress of the charter. Led by Co-Chairs Jacqueline Sutton, Chief Customer Officer, Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace and Sumati Sharma CA, Vice President Special Projects, Virgin Atlantic, the Board consists of c.30 people, representing companies in both the aerospace and aviation industries, trade bodies, academia and Government.

The Board meets quarterly to discuss the progress made by its five work packages (WP) and make decisions on ways forward.

The five work packages consist of:

  • WP1 – Research and Report;
  • WP2 – Networking and Communications;
  • WP3 – Best Practice Sharing;
  • WP4 – Driving the Charter & Signatory Development; and
  • WP5 – Financing & Funding Strategy.