CAPE TOWN — South African Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga says the government is committed to promoting gender equality in the aviation industry.

Delivering the opening address at the three-day Global Aviation Gender Summit here Wednesday, Chikunga said that it was time to fully address the gender inequality within the aviation industry.

For once, we have a woman Secretary-General. We have a woman Chair at SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority). Because they are women, they see what is happening. For instance, in South Africa, let’s take pilots, the percentages are that 90 per cent will be men and only 10 per cent will be women. It can’t continue like that.

Gender equity in the aviation industry is under the spotlight at the first ever Global Aviation Gender Summit, being held in Cape Town from Wednesday.

Officials of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and top leaders of the aviation industry are attending the summit, which is being hosted by the SACAA in co-operation with the ICAO.

SACAA Director Poppy Khoza said it was worrying that the industry was still dominated by men, not only in South Africa but globally.

We are going to look at what are the barriers, why’s it is so difficult for young girls to aspire to a career in aviation. We believe that having such conversations not in isolation as South Africa, but having co-ordination with UN agencies, member States and the entire industry to come up with solutions to break these barriers; clearly the playing field is not level, she added.