What is the Space Industry doing to promote diversity and inclusion?

Scroll Swipe

The space sector must keep up with the way in which the world and the workplace is changing.

The industry has been taking various initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion within its workforce and programs… But can more be done?

 

The efforts aim to make the industry more representative and welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups. It is evident that gender inequality is still an issue in careers and education in STEM. The United Nations reports that women are still underrepresented as researchers in all fields in STEM, averaging 28.8% globally.

In 2020 the Google Diversity Report found that only 5.5% of new tech hires in the US were Black. This was Google’s largest increase in Black representation, and shows there is much more to be done to continue to increase diversity rates across the board and not just in tech.

Some of the key actions being taken to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry include:

Outreach and Education Programs

These are programs in schools that help to engage with students from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups. These students could feel as though they might never have the opportunity to work in the space industry or within STEM. Space agencies, companies, and organizations get involved with these programs to make the sector more accessible to these students and make them aware of their future possibilities.

 

Scholarships and internships

These are targeted towards individuals from underrepresented groups, giving them opportunities that they might not have had before. They provide financial aid to those that wouldn’t have had the resources.

Education

Initiatives and Training

Hiring initiatives such as blind recruitment helps to ensure the workforce is as diverse as possible. Companies m

ay also actively seek people from diverse backgrounds. Inclusion training in the workplace helps to create an inclusive dynamic and increase awareness to any unconscious biases that people may have. Raising awareness of the issues is key to creating a happy workplace for everyone.

 

Supportive Work Environment

Incorporating diversity and inclusion into the hiring process is key, but it is also essential to incorporate this into the work environment to ensure that people want to stay working for the company. Providing equal opportunities, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and offering family-friendly policies to accommodate diverse needs is essential in creating a supportive work environment.

 

Representation

It is important, especially for children, to have role models that either look like or come from a similar background to themselves. Organizations are working to ensure that people from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to acquire leadership roles.

Child and a father - role models

Advocacy and Awareness

Space agencies and companies are actively promoting diversity and inclusion through public awareness campaigns and advocacy efforts. This helps change the narrative around the space sector and showcases its commitment to diversity.

 

Employee Resource Groups

Platforms are created within companies for people from similar backgrounds to connect, to support and talk to one another. This decreases the feelings of loneliness and seclusion in the workplace and promotes a healthier work environment.

 

What is happening at the moment to promote diversity and inclusion?

Virgin Galactic is launching two commercial space flights in 2023 and is playing a key role in promoting inclusion and diversity. The flight launching on the 2nd August 2023 has three crew members, Jon Goodwin, 80, Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, 18.

This flight is an example of how space travel is becoming more and more accessible to the public. Virgin Galactic partners with Space for Humanity for people to win seats on their space tourism missions. Ultimately the non-profit group aims to send ordinary people to space. Their slogan is…

Turning the impossible into the inevitable

Schahaff and Mayers are set to become the first people from the Caribbean to travel to space. Mayers is currently studying philosophy and physics at the university of Aberdeen in Scotland. With the success of the launch, she will be the second-youngest person to travel to space. The space flight truly is an example of how people from all different backgrounds can have a future within the space industry.

Virgin Galactic Aug 2023 Crew
Virgin Galactic August 2023 Crew (Image Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Schahaff said, “When I was two years old, just looking up to the skies, I thought, ‘How can I get there?’ But, being from the Caribbean, I didn’t see how something like this would be possible. The fact that I am here, the first to travel to space from Antigua, shows that space is really becoming more accessible”.

Jon Goodwin was a competitor in the Munich’s 1972 Olympics in canoeing. He is now 80 years old and has also developed Parkinson’s disease. His place on the space flight proves that there is no age limit on travelling to space and no illness, disability or any type of adversity has to get in the way either.

Goodwin said, “I hope this inspires all others facing adversity and shows them that challenges don’t have to inhibit or stop them from pursuing their dreams”.

  • Spotlight On Natasha Fletcher

    Read More
  • The disruptors shaping SmallSat technologies

    The disruptors shaping SmallSat technologies
    Read More
  • Empower your job search with AI   

    From application to interview: Leveraging AI for job search success
    Read More