Airspace Q1 2019 – Embracing Diversity – Joyce Huang, Director, ANWS
To attract more women into all kinds of professional fields, not just air traffic management, organisations and corporations should first brush aside any gender-biased views to create a gender-equal work environment; both male and female workers should have equal opportunity for promotion.
In Asian regions, women tend to focus more on family life than their careers. To support family obligations, organisations could provide more versatile working arrangements such as flexible hours, working from home, and performance-related pay (rather than hourly payment).
In addition, management should communicate with their staff regularly to maintain a balance between the organisation’s requirements and supporting the needs of the employees. This should create a win-win situation.
In Taipei FIR, all air traffic controllers and other technical roles related to air navigation are recruited through a selection process which involves examination and role-specific assessments. This selection process results in a high proportion of female applicants. Females are, on average, attentive to detail, effective in communication, and often able to deal with emergency situations promptly. Therefore, it is highly desirable to keep a balanced proportion of gender within air traffic controllers. For example, within ANWS, we have a total of 329 controllers, which includes 163 men and 166 women. In recent years, the number of women controllers has exceeded that of men, which is a rare case around the world.
Females often take a different approach to situations within management roles, which can lead to a more dynamic organisational culture. As with the operational advantages, I believe that moving away from a male-majority management structure can bring strong, positive changes to an organisation. For instance, one third of ANWS’ executive team consists of female managers, of which I am one, which is a positive upward trend. The organisation embraces a gender equal workplace and is supportive of a high proportion of female managers within our structure.