This year for International Women’s Day, we’re continuing to celebrate the contributions of women to the drone industry. But, despite the progress we’ve already made, there is still a significant gender gap in tech-related jobs, with only 26.7% of positions being held by women according to a December 2022 study.
This number drops to 26.2% for larger tech firms with over 10,000 employees, which might be a warning sign for growing drone organisations. While it might sound like just another gender-based statistic, it represents a larger problem that has been going on: The percentage of women in tech-related careers has actually been decreasing over the last two years.
Still, there are inspiring women working hard to promote the drone industry to other young professionals, and encouraging women to take up careers in this field. These efforts are helping to make the industry more diverse and inclusive, emphasising the importance of continuing to support gender diversity.
Today, we’re elevating the voices of the women in our ecosystem:
“The complex and ever-changing nature of the drone industry allows me to do what I love most: tackling hard problems. Working with leaders in this field, I'm constantly balancing the advancing capabilities of the technology, regulatory requirements, and emerging business models and use cases. Drones have such potential to transform so many different industries for the better - emergency services can use drones to keep responders out of harm's way, drones can make infrastructure inspection more energy efficient, and can help connect communities to the services and goods they need.”
“I enjoy working in the drone industry as the global drone community is all about the extraordinary, and it can sometimes elevate those who are ambitious and crazy enough to take on the challenges, experiments and innovation unique to drones. The UAV industry is young, and the CEOs are usually leading small, but incredibly amazing companies. I’m excited to watch our current set of CEOs develop into the legends who built the industry and become trend-setters for transforming global mapping and surveying habits of communities.”
"Being in the drone industry puts me where growth and disruption in transportation are happening. I work with forward thinking people and apply cutting edge technology to solve important business challenges. This creates a great opportunity to inspire and support other women in the industry and collectively change the face of aviation.”
"When I first got to know Aviant, I was taken aback by the vast number of opportunities in the drone industry and puzzled as to why not more people like me want in on it. Working daily to revolutionize last-mile logistics in an environment that celebrates new perspectives has further solidified this view. Being a part of a growth journey at the forefront of innovation is remarkably stimulating and fun. I highly recommend it!"
“Women have been involved in aviation from the very beginning. Since Emma Lillian Todd, who designed and built an aircraft in 1906 and Elsie MacGill, who was the first woman to earn an aeronautical engineering degree in 1929, we have been assuming a variety of roles in the aviation industry. I am an aeronautical engineer and when I graduated 13 years ago, 10% of our class was represented by women and it was already considered a huge improvement compared to previous years. Today around 5% of the world pilots are women and less than 3% of aviation mechanics are women.
The drone industry, being relatively new, can contribute to change this scenario in aviation. We have to promote more women in the aviation industry in general, including engineers, pilots, flight dispatchers, air traffic controllers, mechanics, etc. And by increasing the awareness of women contributions to aviation, the industry can continue to benefit from the creativity and innovation as result of diversity.”
“It is a fascinating journey learning about drones, real-world applications, and the new ideas that are constantly emerging. I was first exposed to the commercial drone industry in 2012 when I attended a geospatial tradeshow in which drones were featured. What I enjoy most about being part of the drone ecosystem are the people and hearing about what they are doing to advance the adoption and understanding of the technology and their hopes for the future. Whether providing solutions for helping them reach their target audiences of potential clients and partners or matching their business needs with regulatory consulting services, I’m always interested in their stories and goals. Working in this space is rewarding because of the openness and collaborative spirit of the people in it.“
“It doesn't hurt trying for the impossible. If you take risks, you never know where those challenges will take you. That's how we move things forward and find opportunities.”
“I remember when I first became inspired by the capabilities of drones: A large part of Notre Dame had burned down, and a drone was there to map it and help us rebuild it; critical medical goods were needed in rural Africa, and drones delivered those goods where there were no roads; and deforestation was threatening our ecosystem, and drones were used to reseed our forests. These stories pulled me in and inspired me. Since then, I’ve learned dozens upon dozens of use cases that are improving the way we work and live, taking on the dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs and improving their outcomes. I’ve seen how this technology inspires new generations of children to get involved in STEAM and aviation—two fields in desperate need of new and creative minds. It has been a privilege to be part of this industry and educate others about the real-world value drones bring to our world. I can’t wait to see what happens in the years to come and what will inspire me next.”
Promoting diversity is essential for businesses to thrive, and it’s important to acknowledge that having a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do but also a smart business decision. Simply hiring women to tick a diversity box is not an effective approach either as women provide a unique perspective to business operations and need space to voice their opinions as decision-makers.
Instead, companies should focus on the benefits that diversity can bring, such as different perspectives and a broader range of experiences, leading to better organisational strategies. By recognising diversity as a business benefit and not just a moral obligation, companies can create a more inclusive environment and reap the rewards of a diverse workforce.
The case for diversity has also never been stronger with the Harvard Business Review saying,
“In a study of 1,069 leading firms across 35 countries and 24 industries, we found that gender diversity relates to more productive companies, as measured by market value and revenue, only in contexts where gender diversity is viewed as “normatively” accepted. By normative acceptance, we mean a widespread cultural belief that gender diversity is important.”
On top of this, diversity is known to drive innovation, which has been proven so many times that an entire market called Diversity & Inclusion has been created just to help organisations capitalise on their own hidden talents.
Want to see more about women in the drone industry? Sign up for our newsletter to get regular updates on our webinar series Women behind the Drone Revolution.
Eszter Kovács is the CEO and co-founder of DroneTalks Group, which is a collection of services and platforms advancing the entirety of the drone industry ecosystem. Currently, members of the DroneTalks Group include DroneTalks, DroneTalks Jobs and Aerial Cities.
DroneTalks is an online platform created to spread ideas and educate professionals in the drone industry ecosystem. Our educational content empowers people of every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the industry and the innovative ideas within it.
DroneTalks Jobs is the first job portal tailored for the drone industry. The platform connects emerging organisations with skilled professionals seeking new opportunities in this rapidly evolving field.
Aerial Cities is an exclusive, invite-only event for decision-makers in the drone and advanced air mobility (AAM) industries. The event enables governments, cities, CAAs, private drone organisations and users to collaborate and strategise the future of urban drone operations.
Eszter Kovács is also a drone industry expert and regularly contributes to major magazines about the latest trends; these include publications such as Commercial UAV News and Commercial Drone Professional. In addition to this, she is an advisor for several start-ups, such as Globhe. Her role as an advisor extends as well to her role on the advisory board of drone-related initiatives like AUVSI Xponential and Commercial UAV while also fulfilling her commitment as a Swiss Drone Industry Association board member.
These roles are backed by her extensive experience as a technical innovation expert where she contributed to the growth of several companies after leading and mentoring the implementation of complex projects in the drone industry. Eszter still continues to advise leaders on strategic planning and operational transformation initiatives. In 2020, she was also approached by the Global UTM Association to become the director of more than 40 UTM leaders through a 6-month restructuring initiative.
Eszter Kovács is also head of one of the largest diversity initiatives in the drone industry called Women behind the Drone Revolution, which was launched in 2020.
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