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Deepening Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

In many different ways, 2020 was a trying year. People throughout the world were affected by a devastating global pandemic that had serious financial implications, forcing many businesses to shutter. And in the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd, racial tensions and social unrest came to a head in the United States and then swept to other parts of the world. The circumstances of George Floyd’s killing—and that of too many other Black Americans—highlighted the importance of continued efforts to address racial injustice, and Southwest is committed to doing its part. We must not tolerate racial injustice. We must not tolerate hate. We must stand for love.

Following the events of sumer 2020, Southwest developed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Rapid Response Team comprised of cross-functional internal Stakeholders and subject matter experts who quickly evaluated our current efforts and made additional recommendations to enhance our commitment to DEI:

  • Launch of a Diversity Leadership initiative with representatives from multiple departments
  • Enacted processes to support diverse candidates and interview panels
  • Enacted People development tools, including a formalized mentorship and sponsorship program
  • Launched a DEI education and training program with recurrent, required DEI training for Leaders
  • Adopted and designed a customized, unconscious bias training called “Fearlessly Authentic” to serve as the foundational tool to educate and equip all Employees in cultivating and nurturing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Culture
  • Made talent advancement and management tools more accessible to Leaders and Employees


In the fall of 2020, we announced the following objectives:

  • Evolving hiring and development practices to enhance diversity, including posting all open Leadership positions (Supervisor to Vice President) and requiring diverse candidate slates for each role
  • Measuring progress in increasing diversity in Senior Leadership, including our Senior Management Committee
  • Engaging breadth of community Partners to leverage those relationships as we source diverse talent


Additionally, the Southwest Board of Directors has committed to increasing its diverse representation by 2025.1111) The 2020 Southwest Airlines One Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to (i) the Company’s environmental sustainability beliefs, plans, and expectations; (ii) the Company’s plans, goals, objectives, and initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; (iii) the Company’s plans and expectations with respect to Employee training, development, benefits, (including post-retirement benefits) pay, and staffing (including with respect to avoiding furloughs or pay cuts); (iv) the Company’s Vision; (v) the Company’s network plans, expectations, and opportunities, including factors and assumptions underlying the Company’s plans and expectations; (vi) the Company’s initiatives and related goals with respect to global distribution system access and related alliances and capabilities; (vii) the Company’s financial position, outlook, plans, strategies, goals, targets, and projected results of operations; (viii) the Company’s fleet plans and expectations; and (ix) the Company’s initiatives and expectations with respect to fuel efficiency and emissions. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the duration, spread, severity, and any recurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, including through any new variant strains of the underlying virus; the effectiveness and availability of vaccines; the duration and scope of related government orders and restrictions; the duration and scope of the Company’s actions to address Customer and Employee health concerns; the extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on overall demand for air travel and the Company’s related business plans and decisions; and any negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s access to capital; (ii) the impact of fears or actual outbreaks of other diseases, economic conditions, fuel prices, extreme or severe weather and natural disasters, fears of terrorism or war, actions of competitors, consumer perception, and other factors beyond the Company's control, on consumer behavior and the Company's results of operations and business decisions, plans, strategies, and results; (iii) the impact of governmental actions and governmental regulations on the Company’s plans, strategies, and operations; (iv) the Company's dependence on Boeing with respect to the Company's fleet order book and delivery schedule; (v) the Company’s dependence on other third parties for products and services, in particular with respect to global distributions systems and related alliances and capabilities, and the impact on the Company’s operations and results of operations of any third party delays or non-performance; (vi) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively implement, transition, and maintain the necessary information technology systems and infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (vii) the impact of labor matters on the Company’s result of operations, business decisions, plans, and strategies; and (viii) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020. Southwest’s DEI pillars and key focus areas are Career, Culture, Community, and Customers. We strive to operationalize DEI in all of these areas.


For nearly 50 years, Southwest has exemplified a passion for putting People first, which includes standing for diversity, equity, and inclusion. At Southwest, we recognize, respect, and value differences while fostering a Culture and workplace that embraces and utilizes our diversity. Throughout 2020, we had many important and crucial conversations around this topic that helped us identify additional ways we can improve our efforts—an important part of how our Company will continue to become the most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline in the world.
—Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services

Education, Bias Training, and Advocacy
Southwest has always stood for inclusivity, with the support of Leaders, Employees, Diversity Council, Military Ambassadors, and President’s Council. In 2020, we continued to have conversations about DEI inside our Company and throughout our communities. Knowing that we can always do better, throughout the year Southwest made adjustments and improvements and took new strides on initiatives that we believe will help us better advance our efforts to combat racism and promote inclusivity.

Listen, Learn, and Act
DEI isn’t a new focus for Southwest, but the events of 2020 gave us an opportunity to look inward at ways we can do our part to continue driving change and champion an inclusive workplace. One of the first ways we can drive change is by creating and inviting conversations. Fostering open conversations contributes to our learning and understanding and allows us to be comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling often associated with conversations on race, equity, and inclusion. It is our view that conversation is a key lever in helping to foster an environment of value and respect. These important conversations allow us to harness the best in each of us. When we can bring our full selves to work, we, our Customers, and our business all thrive.

In 2020, the Southwest Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department completed numerous workshops and listening forums, through a model of listen, learn, and act, to begin examining more deeply racism, equity, and inclusion. Many workgroups throughout the Company created psychologically safe spaces for additional dialogues and discussions about these important topics. We also distributed refreshed resources to educate Employees and Leaders and guide our Employees in having conversations about race and inclusion.

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