Women in Aerospace Europe (2017): 68th IAC, Adelaide AU
A Gender Diverse Space Workforce
WAI-E-IAC Diversity in Space Keynote Breakfast
Introduction: Jean-Yves Le Gall, President IAF, Luisella Giulicchi, President WIA-E. Panelists: Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency, Sarah Jane Pell, Australian artist, researcher and occupational diver, Jan Woerner, ESA Director General. Moderator: Barbara Imhof, WIA-E Treasurer and Director of Corporate Identity. Closing remarks: Mary Snitch, IAF VP for Diversity Initiatives.
Jean-Yves Le Gall, Luisella Giulicchi, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Roberto Battiston, Sarah Jane Pell, Jan Woerner, Barbara Imhof, Mary Snitch. 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 IAF International Platform for Diversity and Equality in Astronautics IDEA & Women in Aerospace Europe WIA-E Breakfast.
A Key for Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security [Keynote transcript]
I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land: the Garmar people and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. To many of you, Australia is a big southern continent: far, far, and away. For some, we are an ancient Asian nation, others a young western nation. Here in Australia, we say that we are “the lucky country”; “we are one, we are many”; “we don’t take life too seriously"; and we value “mate ship” above all. Yet I believe that it is these stories that we tell ourselves are our greatest barriers to space maturity: let me explain why. Spending time with Aboriginal elders on my mothers’ country, has taught me that custodianship of country, culture, community, and cosmology are equally vital to longevity and health of humanity. They achieve this by practicing black-sky thinking, multigenerational governance and consultation, and asset management through strategic planning and forecasting some 100+ years into the future. So when I think of diversity, I compare modes of leadership to this proven, effective, sustainable and enduring working model of diversity, cooperation and inclusion. Yet this remains untapped, invisible or demeaned asset, and the message is clear: The phrase ‘lucky country’ was just a term for the white fella.
It is essential that Australia literally interprets the term: “national agency” not just promote our “mates”, and instead builds relationship capital from the outset that unites, and empowers Women, Indigenous, LBGTQ+, Cultural & Religious, Generational & Mature Age, Disability Access, and Trans-disciplinary Access to space. I pledge to you, our experienceed international colleagues to help us Australians be a part of a movement that calls all space actors to promote a broader view of “effective leadership” – one that values a variety of demographic backgrounds (e.g. gender identity, cultural, political, martial, religious etc.) and leadership styles (e.g. introverted and extroverted), as well as leaders who work flexibly and conventionally (flexibily, remotely, or on-site full time). And seek to dissolve divisions by ensuring diversity and inclusion initiatives involve active and equal partnerships between women and men, and people from culturally diverse and non-culturally diverse backgrounds – active and equal in advocating, being role models, and being change agents. Treat gender equality as a business issue, not a women’s issue. Collect and report on diversity and inclusion leadership metrics. Educate about how to acknowledge differences without stereotyping. Encourage everyone to challenge and change gender-biased organizational policies and practices - even here at the IAC - boycott the #allmalepanel, promote women to leadership roles, and those who identify as ladies, let us make it easy: Speak up, Step up, and Sit at the table. Support, Sponsor and Shepherd new talent. And most of all, Value yourself and your contributions.
I’m Dr. Sarah Jane Pell: designer of extreme performance architectures and Director of Bending Horizons. Bending Horizons is an artist-astronaut mission: an adapted business model designed to disrupt space exploration roadmaps, and it began by combining commercial diving with contemporary arts practice. I perform a range of inter-related projects to challenge long-held views about the kinds of architecture that can be innovated upon. This includes the strategic deployment, publication and demonstration of a wide range of validation benchmarks, technology readiness levels, and inspirational artifacts. [Play VIDEO 00:60] As you can see, I’m using creativity as a vehicle to space. It is my hope that this project will be the first worldwide articulation on performing astronautics; and as I disrupt traditional pathways to space there emerges opportunities for encounters that offer all of us an alternative viewpoint on things.
I am confident that culturally diverse female talent working in Australia are ambitious, capable, and resilient, and well positioned to contribute to their own and their organisation’s success in the 21st century, but we need your help: As Jacques Arnold, ethicist to the French Space Agency, said that, “Space represents all: an abstract idea, a physical area/environment, as well as a tool employed in the social experience”. Any unconscious thinking is a pattern recognition system and these systems are inheritably stable, and perpetuated by the status quo. A pattern of bias associations, that form our stereotypes, will not be altered until a critical mass of contradictory information is overt. As you architect new dreams, and boldly explore new frontiers, in search of answers and resources. Find the inner resources. Be a champion of women. Be open to true diversity. Be a part of open source Space and activate positive inclusion. It is time for new energies. It is time for new languages. It is time for new ideas to match the radical technological advancement and entrepreneurial fervor of activities in space through openness, collaboration, trans-disciplinarily and respect for all. Thank you.