Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) announced its pledge to increase female representation in key positions by 25 per cent by year 2025 towards greater advocacy of women in aviation.
The pledge is part of a global initiative by nearly 60 signatories to improve gender balance in the aviation industry under a voluntary initiative dubbed 25by2025. The initiative is organised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and participating organisations committed to either increasing the number of women in senior positions and under-represented areas by 25 per cent or up to a minimum of 25 per cent by 2025.
RB is well-advanced in nearing gender balance, with only seven per cent to reach an equal ratio of females to males employed at the company.
As of March, women represented 43.6 per cent of the overall RB population, shifting the status quo in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. For the pledge, RB will work to further increase by 25 per cent female participation in under-represented areas as well as in senior roles, from the Vice President level and above.
At the management and senior management levels, RB is well represented by women. Notably, at least 40 per cent of RB Managers and Vice Presidents are women.
RB’s main focus is to promote, educate and increase visibility of female roles during its career talks and in events that champion female representation. It is hoped that these actions will further appeal to the next generation of women who may explore a career in an array of roles within the industry.
RB Chief Executive Officer Captain Haji Khalidkhan bin Haji Asmakhan said, “As a keen adopter of change and innovation – be it in green operating practices or gender diversity and equality – RB has always sought to empower our people and lead by example. The 25by2025 campaign complements our goals as a modern airline, and therefore, we are excited to pledge our commitment towards gender balance.”
He added, “RB women have already made great strides with breaking the glass ceiling in the industry. We were the first to have a female captain for a national airline in Southeast Asia, and in 2016, our all-female flight crew to Jeddah made headlines around the world. These notable achievements have brought us much pride and we wish to build on their success through this initiative.”
RB’s top female executive Chief Financial Officer Nurbahriah Eliza binti Abdullah said, “Joining 25by2025 demonstrates RB’s commitment to close the gender gap as we work towards the advancement of women in the industry. While women have a high representation in RB, there is still a lot of work to be done to promote this industry-wide and to support women to rise further as emerging leaders in the workplace.
Research has shown that gender equality benefits everyone. The more gender-equal companies are, the better it is for both the male and female employees. This is one of the reasons it’s number five in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.”
“I welcome RB’s participation in the industry-wide 25by2025 initiative. It is very encouraging to see the airline commit to further improve gender balance and diversity despite the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19. We look forward to working with Royal Brunei Airlines to bring change across the industry,” said IATA’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific Conrad Clifford.
The 25by2025 initiative also ties in with the recently launched RB Harapan, an initiative inviting schoolchildren of Brunei to RB Campus and Hangar where they are able to learn and ask questions about the diverse roles and job scopes at RB. Through the school visits, RB female staff will deliver talks as an empowering figure in their line of work, and aim to inspire female students to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects for their higher education. This may potentially help RB realise its pledge for 2025 and beyond.
RB and signatories of the 25by2025 initiative will also report annually on their key diversity metrics to track their respective progress.