Does any industry have fewer female senior executives than airlines?
With EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall gone, we think there is just one female CEO at a major airline: Anne Rigail of Air France. In all, just about 3 percent of CEOs in aviation are women, according to IATA, the trade group, and many of them are at lower-profile companies.
It's not an easy question to answer, but my colleague Sarah Enelow-Snyder just wrote a long story explaining some of the problems. She noted the industry remains an old boys club, and wrote how some women can't find the mentors they need. "For many women," she writes, "the entire field presents anywhere from unfamiliar to openly hostile."
There are exceptions, and Enelow-Snyder found one: Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO of UK airline Flybe. She told Skift there should be more women in the top ranks. "You don't have to be an airline geek to manage an airline," she said.
We want to think the situation will improve. While CEO ranks remain thin, some women are reaching upper management. In the U.S., the president of JetBlue Airways is a woman, as are the top technology executives at United Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. The chairman of the board at United is a woman.
Still, we are far from gender parity, as Enelow-Snyder makes clear. Do you think this is a fixable problem? Do you think it needs to be fixed? Let me know.