While it might appear that we are making great diverse strides in many sectors of the economy, the aviation and drone industries are still underrepresenting women. A recent study by Tech Nation reported that men in the UK filled 77% of director roles in the tech industry. Of the women working in the tech industry only, 5% were Asian, and just 3% were black and Hispanic.
In an ever-changing world of tech, diversity is vital. It portrays a new, more inclusive way of working globally and enables companies to create better products targeted to a more significant section of society rather than a narrower niche. In 2020 a report from McKinsey found that companies with a diverse ethos performed better, hired more skilled talent, had engaged employees, and retained talent better than companies whose values didn’t include diversity and inclusion. Despite these positive signs, women remain widely underrepresented in newer, more innovative technology sectors such as drones.
These low figures have sparked the interest of some of the top female players in the drone industry, and we have been lucky enough to talk with them about how important diversity and equality is to them.
Claire Owen, Former CTO at DronePrep
Winner of the Innovator Award for Women in Tech, Claire is a great advocate for women in the drone and aviation industry. Championing gender-diverse companies, she is only too aware of the benefits of women in tech innovation.
"There has never been such an important time for more women to be involved in the drone industry with huge advancements in autonomous delivery, technology, UTM, and a vast array of new use cases. Women are not only needed in our industry to increase innovation, but they are also needed to increase revenue. Many studies have shown that gender-diverse companies produce a better profit than those who do not. It is also crucial that the people creating our technology solutions are representative of the population. This is why it’s so important to celebrate and promote female talent providing role models for the future and encouraging the female drone leaders of tomorrow."
Alicia Llorens, Sales Campaign Manager at Virtuosity a Bentley company
Alicia has been working in the drone industry for the last decade. Specialising in photogrammetry software and 3d modelling, she is passionate about women in the industry making their voices heard.
"My first years in the drone industry felt very lonely. If you don't see women in leadership roles, it makes it very challenging to spark that aspiration or ambition in younger ones. I find myself at a point where I am no longer used to being a woman in a male dominated industry. I challenge that. We must challenge that. Because we should all be part of the change.
There are plenty of brilliant and talented women in our industry. We need to make sure our voice is heard, and our successes are shared. The more we speak up, the more visibility, and the more female leaders we will (hopefully) see in the industry. Together, we are creating a more diverse and inclusive industry and ultimately a better work environment."
Aurelie Joy, Senior Consultant at Murzilli Consulting
Starting her aviation career as a Trainee Air Traffic Controller, Aurélie Joy Pascual-Werner has worked her way up the ladder and into the drone industry and today she is advising multiple drone companies on their operational authorizations. Passionate about diversity, she believes that gender shouldn’t be a barrier to success.
"As the drone industry is new, dynamic, and progressive, it is important that it reflects our society's current and future diversity. Gender should never be a determining factor when selecting or hiring, and I am glad to see that the number of women evolving in this field increases exponentially."
Dr.-Ing. Nora Metzner, Senior Product Manager at Droniq
With a background in Mechanical Engineering and a Doctor of Engineering where she specialised in aviation structures, Nora knows only too well what it’s like to be one of just a few women in the boardroom.
"In my experience, the drone industry being part of the aviation world still has few women in technical and leading positions. I have been studying mechanical engineering and have worked within the aviation industry for several years now, and I have always been recognized as “one of the few”. On the other hand, the drone industry is an emerging industry, with young companies living a diverse and innovative culture – that is what distinguishes the drone world from the “classical aviation”. In my opinion, every woman in a leading position serves as an inspiration for other, young and ambitious women – and internet platforms can help to share success stories, exchange within networks and foster more diversity in this field!"
Andreea Perca, UAS authorisation and oversight at Federal Office of Civil Aviation Switzerland
Andreea Perca’s background is aviation and aeronautics. Andreea can see how vital it is that more diversity is implemented in this industry. Speaking on this diversity, she can clearly see the benefits of a broader approach.
"The drone industry being at the forefront of innovation provides the opportunity of adopting modern approaches in various aspects of the developing domain. By emphasizing the importance of our diversity, raising awareness and working together towards developing healthy and versatile teams, I believe this modern set-up provides benefits to the whole society. In my experience until now, being part of diverse teams has shown considerable advantages by inspiring various points of view, constructive discussions and sustainable outputs. Diversity is much more than just considering the differences between genders, but also taking into account the cultural aspects that make each of us unique."
While we are very fortunate to have such strong female voices in the aviation and drone industry speaking out on behalf of diversity, we can only hope that not only do we see a shift in a more diverse approach from businesses, but that we also have so many female voices championing each other that they are impossible to ignore.
More about DroneTalks' women behind the Drone Revolution Series:
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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