Breaking The Glass Ceiling – Departing Flybe CEO Leaves A Lasting Legacy For Women In Aviation
Flybe’s departing CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener may not have been the first woman to run a UK airline, but she has certainly helped raise their profile in the sector, acting this last year as the lone lady on the IATA governing board. This has happened as the UK regional carrier has faced tough challenges and ultimately has been safely manoeuvred from potential collapse into the ownership of a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group and a likely rebranding under the Virgin name. Ms Ourmières-Widener was recently awarded the ‘Inspirational Role Model’ award in the inaugural IATA Diversity and Inclusion Awards after introducing the ‘FlyShe’ initiative to create equal opportunities for females in aviation. She believes boys and girls should be encouraged to aspire to the same jobs from an early age and industry must steer away from outdated views regarding job roles in aviation. Ms Ourmières-Widener explains that gaining an aeronautical degree or qualifying as a pilot “should automatically be seen as achievable by all, regardless of gender” and this attitude needs to be “instilled at an early age.” She also notes that to encourage and inspire young girls to consider aviation as a viable option “there needs to be more emphasis on steering towards science, engineering, technology and mathematics”.