All-female Aer Lingus crews for International Women's Day

The 2018 campaign theme is #PressforProgress

All-female Aer Lingus crews for International Women's Day

Image: Aer Lingus

Thursday is marking International Women's Day - a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The 2018 campaign theme is #PressforProgress.

Organisers say: "International Women's Day is not country, group or organisation specific. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

"So together, let's all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity. Collectively, let's all Press for Progress."

As part of events to mark the day, Aer Lingus says transatlantic flight EI 105 from Dublin to New York was managed by an all-female crew.

The carrier also says all women departing on UK and European flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Belfast will be offered Priority Boarding.

Image: Aer Lingus

Some 110 flights on Thursday will see female travellers board their flight ahead of all other guests "as a gesture" to join in this global celebration recognising the achievements of women and promoting greater gender equality, it says.

More than 2,000 of the 4,200 Aer Lingus employees are female, carrying out roles across all areas of the airline including pilots, cabin crew, engineers, flight dispatchers and check-in and boarding teams.

Aer Lingus was the first airline in Europe to employ a female pilot - Grainne Cronin flew her first flight as a qualified Aer Lingus pilot in 1978.

Aer Lingus pilot Grainne Cronin in the cockpit of a plane at Dublin Airport in 2001 | Image: Joe Dunne/

Today 10% of the carrier's pilots are female, which is more than double the international airline industry average.

"While we are proud of this statistic, we continue to work hard to encourage more female applicants for our pilot vacancies", Aer Lingus adds.

Staff members were also invited to bring their daughters to work for a day.

Davina Pratt, director of operations, said: "We are delighted to highlight International Women's Day today by offering Priority Boarding to all females travelling on our short haul flights out of Ireland.

"I firmly believe in recognising and supporting female talent.

"At Aer Lingus we are proud to employ more than 2,000 females and I hope this figure will continue to rise as we see more women in visible leadership positions in Aer Lingus and beyond."

Career goals

Meanwhile a new survey says more women are actively pursuing their career goals than ever before.

82% of women surveyed by PwC say they are confident in their ability to fulfil their career aspirations, and 73% are actively seeking career advancement.

But 42% feel nervous about the impact starting a family might have on their career - and 48% of new mothers felt overlooked for promotions and special projects on their return to work.

Some 45% believe diversity can be a barrier to career progression and only 51% of women feel their employers are doing enough to improve gender diversity.

While 58% of women identified greater transparency as "the critical step" employers can take.

More than 3,600 professional women, aged 28 to 40, were surveyed.

The survey included respondents from employers across 27 industry sectors and from over 60 countries worldwide.

It says although CEOs recognise the importance of being transparent about their diversity and inclusion programmes to build trust, the message is not universal and strong enough.

Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC, says: "Women are confident, ambitious and actively pursuing their career goals.

"Leaders should focus on creating an environment where women - and men - can have open conversations, and where there is clarity on what it takes to progress.

"This will benefit everyone and will lead to better results overall.

"This greater transparency is however just one piece of the puzzle, additional actions are needed to drive change. It must go hand in hand with efforts to mitigate any unconscious biases and gender stereotypes that have traditionally impacted career success and progression in workplaces around the world."