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 is the CEO & founder of Manageld and co-founder of DroneTalks.online. She is a well-known drone influencer.
As an expert in technical innovation in the drone sector, Eszter has contributed to several companies' growth, leading complex implementations and mentoring and advising leaders on strategic planning and operational transformation. In 2020 Eszter successfully led the Global UTM association with 40 + UTM ecosystem leaders through its restructuring for six months.
From 2016 - to 2019, Eszter successfully led the GSMA Drone Interest Group, growing it from 10 mobile operator members to nearly 40 finding solutions to leverage cellular connectivity in the aviation environment.
Eszter is passionate about boosting diversity; in 2020, she launched an event series, "Women Behind the Drone Revolution", which is still running successfully intending to highlight female leaders' activities related to drones.
Eszter holds a BA in Military & Safety Engineering from the Hungarian National University of Public Services and is currently attending Boston University's digital leadership studies. She was born in Hungary and, having travelled extensively, resides in Bern, Switzerland. She is the board member of the swiss drone industry association.
Eszter is an expert writer in multiple drone-focused online magazines such as Commercial UAV news and Commercial Drone Professional. She is also an advisor for various start-ups such as Globhe and drone-related initiatives such as AUVSI Xponential and Commercial UAV shows.
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