Iata is to run its first diversity and inclusion awards to recognise and encourage industry excellence.

Three categories of leadership in gender diversity and inclusion will be awarded with prize money of $25,000 each through sponsorship by Qatar Airways.

Nominations are open until March 31 on the Iata website. They will be judged by an international and independent panel of experts.

The first of the annual awards will be presented at the association’s 75th annual meeting in Seoul on June 1-3.

The categories are:

Inspirational Role Model Award: Presented to a female aged 30-plus holding a senior position within the industry who has had a significant impact on the aviation agenda through her strong contribution to business delivery, as well as her ongoing support of the gender diversity agenda. Open to all female participants in the aviation industry.

High Flyer Award: Designed to recognise one of aviation’s under-30 female contributors who has started to develop her career, and thought leadership in the industry through her inspirational work. Open to all under-30 female participants in the aviation industry.

Diversity and Inclusion Team Award: Designed to recognise an airline that has seen a tangible change in diversity as a result of the work it has been doing in diversity and inclusion. Open to all Iata member airlines.

Iata director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “The essence of aviation is building a global community by connecting people, businesses and cultures across great distances.

“Ten million people work in the aviation industry to make this happen. It is important that this workforce reflects the amazing diversity and inclusion that it fosters in our society.

“By launching these awards, we want to recognize and celebrate the great work that is being done to take the industry into the future.”

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker added: “Aviation thrives with diversity and provides great employment opportunities to talented people in every corner of our planet.

“But there is much room to improve. For example, gender balance is by far not equal.

“In sponsoring these awards, we are committing to do better ourselves, to building awareness and to inspiring change.”