Airspace Q1 2019 – Embracing Diversity – Micilia Albertus-Verboom, CEO, DC-ANSP


A popular song of a well-known local composer is entitled ‘Woman rule the world’ (Muhé ta manda mundu). Is that pretentious? Not really. It is a fact that especially from the second half of the 20th century on, women have progressed a lot in taking over positions, which traditionally were almost exclusively for men.

Yet, even now, in the second decade of the 21st century, women still lag behind compared with men, although they are gaining gradually. In air traffic control and especially within ATM, one will notice that the contrast between men and women is still quite out of balance.

Globally, woman in this specific sector still form a minority compared with the number of men. In Curaçao this is just the same. At Dutch Caribbean Air Navigation Service Provider (DC-ANSP) we have a total of 71% men versus 29% women working as air traffic controllers.

The question is why are not more women working in this sector? Is it mainly because they are stuck in the so-called female professions such as caring professions and education?

Various studies have shown that women are strong in taking responsibility, are accurate and pay attention to detail in whatever position. To be successful as an air traffic controller, the above abilities are of great importance. This would lead to a preliminary conclusion that an increase in women controllers would have a positive effect within air traffic management.

Slowly but surely, there is a shift to less traditional professions, of which women are also part. I favour recruiting more women as air traffic controllers as well as in senior management positions. At DC-ANSP, there is a fair distribution in management functions: of the 10 departments, five are currently run by female managers.

Mary Chance VanScyoc, Ruth Thomas, Madelyn Brown Pert, Marian McKenna Russel, Mary Gilmore, Gloria Langmade Yow and Carol White Stirr have paved the way, but in honour of them, we must continue with the same perseverance to keep inspiring women to join our force.

Airspace Magazine People Latin America and Caribbean