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Aviation's big investment: Gender equality means more than dividends for future generations

August 02, 2017

GE’s transformation to a digital industrial company means we must look at the diversity of our employees who invent the future of flight around the globe. In February, GE launched Balance the Equation, a goal of hiring 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020, with the introduction of a video featuring Millie Dresslehaus, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science.

GE Aviation has long strived to leverage and win with the strength of a workforce that celebrates diversity of thoughts, ideas and people. In 2016, we reached a 50:50 gender parity among the Edison Engineering Development Program at GE Aviation, an early career leadership program offering experiences through intense technical training and a variety of business-critical assignments.

Gary Mercer, vice president and general manager of engineering at GE Aviation said, “Unlocking the next level of brilliance in our organization depends on us getting the best ideas and solutions into the hands of our customers. The best and brightest ideas/solutions often come from a more diverse population that engage in healthy debate and who have different perspectives on the world around them.”

In June, Mercer's organization launched a new program, “Cultivate”, to develop and retain women engineers at GE Aviation. More than 80+ global GE Aviation sites are represented, with the strategy being to grow, engage and connect through clinics, team projects, leadership courses and networking opportunities. 

What’s next?

GE Aviation will continue to promote Balance the Equation by celebrating our current workforce and looking for more ways to engage with local communities and universities. Recently, GE Aviation and GE Girls partnered with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to host an entire week dedicated to STEM and ended with a visit to GE Aviation's Raleigh, North Carolina facility.

In Ohio, GE Aviation employees volunteered for the fifth annual, “Year of the Girl” summer STEM camp. The goal being to achieve gender balanced leadership in every industry and community in a single generation and to help the “To get her there” initiative, with curriculum created by the Girls Scouts of America, GE and the Society of Women Engineers.

We’re excited that communities are embracing Balance the Equation and continuing the conversation. In Indiana, the Indiana Business Journal featured Kristie West, executive plant manager at GE Aviation's facility in Xenia, Ohio, who explained the Company's goals for the Balance the Equation campaign:

Additionally, Cherise John, an Edison Engineer with GE Aviation, landed the cover of “Winds of Change” digital magazine. Scroll to page 11 to read her full interview!

Cherise John featured on the cover of "Winds of Change" digital magazine.

Together, we can Balance the Equation, create a stronger company and accelerate innovation!

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.