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AAUS ratifies gender-neutral name change to ‘reflect core values’

written by Hannah Dowling | November 25, 2021

Members of the Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems have “overwhelmingly” supported a move to change the association’s name to remove a gendered term, effective immediately.

Formerly the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems, the new name marks a “subtle but significant” change, according to the association, which is the oldest and largest industry advocacy group for drones and the emerging urban air mobility sector in Australia.

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The change to include the word “uncrewed” in the association’s title as opposed to “unmanned” “is consistent with the association’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion,” the association said.

The subtle change also allows the association to keep the same acronym and retain its original “brand identity”.

The name change was made official at this year’s annual general meeting, where members “voted with overwhelming support” to introduce the new name, and the association’s logo has already been updated to reflect the change.

“Over the last decade, AAUS has seen a significant maturation in stakeholder understanding and expectation in relation to our industry,” the association said in a statement.

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“Further, there has been change in broader societal and cultural expectations that, while not associated directly with our industry, are changing the socio-political environment within which our association exists.”

Meanwhile, AAUS president Reece Clothier said, “This change reflects AAUS’ core values. It’s the first step in our journey to encourage greater diversity in our sector, and as the peak representative body, we need to lead by example.

“While it is acknowledged that ‘uncrewed’ is still an emerging term, it is the one prominently being adopted by key stakeholders including government, CASA, Australian Defence and the FAA, and one we as an association believe encompasses the gender-neutral language being supported by the aviation industry.”

The move follows a similar decision made by the Royal Australian Air Force in March this year, when Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, announced that the RAAF would be scrapping the word “airmen” to instead be replaced with “aviators”.

The announcement was made as the RAAF celebrated its 100th anniversary.

“Of all the work that has been done in developing our Air Force culture, the most challenging dilemma has been fully explaining who we are,” AIRMSHL Hupfeld said.

“We understand well enough what we are and what we do – but have never quite managed to successfully articulate who we are. We are all aviators.”

“As an Air Force, we are born of the air and space. It is our home, and the place from which we serve our nation. Our trade is aviation,” AIRMSHL Hupfeld added.

“In everything that we do, we are aviators first and foremost. All of us, by virtue of what we do and what we believe. It is what binds us together.”

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