Over the last decade, the aviation industry has increased efforts to attract and retain more women through a variety of avenues, from the energetic development of STEM programs and university-level engineering curriculum to stronger corporate recruitment strategies. But there’s still significant work to be done—which is why the government has called in the A-team.
Jean Lydon-Rodgers, president and CEO of GE Aviation Services, has been appointed as a member of the newly formed Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB). The announcement was officially made on May 15 by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Established in 2019 as part of the Federal Aviation Authority Reauthorization Act, the purpose of the WIAAB is to develop strategies and recommendations that will encourage women and girls to pursue careers in the field of aviation. The board will focus in particular on education, training, mentorship, outreach and recruitment of women in the industry.
“I’m honored to have been selected to be a member of this board and proud of its purpose—to encourage more women to pursue educational opportunities and careers related to the aviation industry,” said Lydon-Rodgers.
Lydon-Rodgers will join 29 other female leaders who come from a wide range of backgrounds and bring specific expertise to the board, including experience at major aerospace and airline companies, aviation and engineering business associations, higher education institutions and aviation trade schools, nonprofits, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and the Civil Air Patrol. The FAA solicited nominations for candidates last fall and received nearly 200 competitive applicant packages. The board will be led by Heather Wilson, president of The University of Texas at El Paso and former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
“From Secretary Chao, to the several women on my senior leadership team, and the more than 10,000 women in the FAA, we see the professionalism and contributions that make our aviation industry the gold standard for the world every day,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “We salute the WIAAB’s new board members for their commitment to illuminate this career path for more women.”
According to the Department of Transportation, members will be appointed to the WIAAB for the duration of its existence, which is anticipated to be a minimum of two years. The board will meet up to nine times a year to carry out their duties.