Women In Aerospace-Europe (WIA-E) is a non-profit association formed in 2009 by Simonetta di Pippo, then ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight, and Claudia Kessler, CEO of He Space. Its aim is to achieve inclusive representation for women across the aerospace sector, assure them access to executive jobs, motivate young girls to get interested in science and communicate on the key role that space plays in our daily lives. WIA-Europe has a female and male membership and is part of the worldwide WIA network, which was originally created in the United States and has rapidly expanded to Europe, Canada and South Africa, and will soon be opening chapters in Asia and Latin America.
For this latest WIA-E event, held once again as part of IAF’s Spring Meetings, the focus was on the place and role of women in aerospace companies, with discussions centring on the theme ‘A European Aerospace Sector with an Inclusive Representation on all Levels’. After a presentation by Simonetta di Pippo and IAF President Kiyoshi Higuchi, CNES President and Incoming IAF President Jean-Yves Le Gall spoke alongside ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the Executive Board of the German space agency DLR, and Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian space agency ASI. Special emphasis was put on gender diversity in the workplace as a way to achieve greater optimization. Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined how IAF’s future roadmap, Connecting @ll Space People, is designed to bring this aim to fruition by implementing the 3G principle (Geography, Generation and Gender) within IAF and the space sector.
Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “Getting the right gender balance is today a top priority for our sector. Besides the legal aspects governing gender equality, encouraging gender diversity is above all the way to achieve a well-balanced and diverse workplace, and to motivate more women to pursue studies leading to a career in aerospace and to aim for the top jobs in our sector. In this regard, WIA-E and IAF are pursuing the same goal of nurturing diversity in terms of geography, generation and gender.”