In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month and honor the vast contributions made by women across the United States. At United, we take this time to reflect on our 94-year history and think about the courageous and tireless trailblazers of our past, such as Jane Eads, America’s first official airline passenger on what would become United Airlines, and also acknowledge the achievements of women in our business today, including Captain M’Lis Ward, the first African-American woman to serve as captain of a U.S. airline, and our former Chairman Jane Garvey, the first woman in history to hold that title at a major U.S. airline and the first woman to lead the Federal Aviation Administration.
While we are deliberate in our celebration over the next 31 days, we acknowledge the vast contributions women make to United’s success year-round—driving innovative projects, running a world-class operation, and providing an outstanding travel experience for you, our loyal customers.
This month reminds us that gender equality is integral to the success of our business, and that building a diverse and inclusive team is more than the “right thing to do.” Our diverse teams push us to think differently, and they should ultimately reflect the communities we serve, further enabling us to make our customers feel at home on our aircraft.
As part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, we are committed to pay equity. That commitment is essential to maintaining an environment in which all employees feel valued and respected. We recently achieved near-perfect pay equity for employees of all genders and races performing comparable work across our U.S. operations, and we will continue to conduct annual reviews of our pay practices in order to hold ourselves accountable.
Additionally, last year we announced an expansion of our pilot recruitment and development program, Aviate, and we became the only major U.S. carrier to own a flight training academy. We’re focused on increasing the number of women and other underrepresented groups on the flight deck through that academy and other Aviate initiatives. We also partner with Women in Aviation International to host their worldwide “Girls in Aviation Day” events, and we were the first commercial airline to sponsor an all-women team of technicians in the international aerospace skills competition. These efforts build on our work to develop and grow the ranks of women among pilots, technicians, and other roles across the airline.
We have made great strides in helping women excel in aviation, and we take tremendous pride in that as an organization. Yet, while we celebrate our success, there is more work to do. United’s leadership team recognizes our obligation to increase the visibility and agency of women at all levels of our organization and to create an environment of opportunity and respect. We are building a culture in which employees feel welcomed, respected, valued, and heard—that’s true for everyone who works at United.
Our shared purpose “Connecting People. Uniting the World.”—is at its heart a call for a more welcoming, open, prosperous world.
To fulfill that mission, our teams must be as diverse as the communities and customers we serve around the globe. We have a tremendous opportunity to build upon our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in 2021 and beyond. As all of us at United identify ways to better serve each other, we are confident it will ultimately better serve you.
Executive Vice President Human Resources and Labor Relations