Why Does the Space Industry Struggle with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are transforming the modern workplace culture to more accurately reflect the reality of its workforce. It hasn’t been an easy transition for today’s fast-paced, high-tech global industries, especially compacted with the impact of COVID-19 on business operations.
The increased focus on DEI is a natural result of the increasingly diverse modern workforce, the expansion of STEM education programs, globalization of the tech industry, increasing demand for young talent, and increased awareness of wage gaps between different demographic groups of people.
The space industry has been addressing DEI workforce issues for some time. Throughout the past decade, it has made progress in attracting more young professionals and putting women in more senior executive-level positions. But, it has also seen its share of struggles in regards to hiring people of color, diversifying executive boards, and employee burnout.
In this episode of On Orbit, we’re joined by the leaders of two of the space industry’s most prominent industry organizations – Kim Macharia, chair of the Space Frontier Foundation, and Robert Bell, executive director of the Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) – to talk about why space needs to put DEI front and center. We examine how and why the industry is succeeding and failing at certain DEI initiatives. We also talk about how industry organizations support industry DEI initiatives, the need for diversity in entrepreneurship, and the responsibility of executive leaders in cultivating healthy work environments.
This was a fantastic, productive, and inclusive discussion. Robert and Kim are both very honest and direct. This conversation provides helpful information for everyone, including companies that don’t have a strategy for DEI issues.
Industry Organization Links:
Space Frontier Foundation – http://newspace.spacefrontier.org/
Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) – https://www.sspi.org/cpages/home
Women in Aerospace (WIA) – https://www.womeninaerospace.org/
Patti Grace Smith Fellowship – https://www.pgsfellowship.org/
Brooke Owens Fellowship – http://www.brookeowensfellowship.org/
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) https://spacegeneration.org/
SEDS USA https://seds.org/