“Exchanging Lessons Learned: Gender Diversity and Equality in Space” is a webinar held last 06 October 2021 that featured speakers from various regions of the world to discuss their experiences and ideas on diversity, inclusivity, and equality in the space industry. It was organized by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in collaboration with the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) during the 2021 World Space Week to celebrate its theme, “Women in Space”. 

In the previous article, we featured the first place winners of the 2021 World Space Week essay-writing and poster-making competitions that had followed the webinar. These competitions aim to have the participants share their own ideas on how to promote and practice the values that they have learned and synthesized from the event through art and creative writing.

Here, are the second and third place winners of these contests:

2nd Place Essay
Space ZERO: Launching Inclusivity, Equality, and Diversity (IED) into the Workspace

A question: what is the dissimilarity measure between the proximity of x and y if they are equally valued? 

The space sector is in the necessity of labor forces such as scientists, engineers, and technicians. By scientists, the primary requirement is merit in particular branches of science namely Physics, Astrophysics, Astronomy, Meteorology, etc. depending on the demands of the certain nature of scientific duties; by engineers, the quality of an individual in analyzing mathematical concepts and relationships between quantities, and the ability to construct sustainable instruments and machines are what qualify us as one; and by technicians, the eminence in designing, developing, navigating, repairing, testing, and installing electronic- or software-related projects is the paramount qualification. To be a scientist, an engineer, or a technician does not necessitate us at the expense of our gender, race, religion, and age. The aforementioned are negatively correlated to the innateness of these works within the workplace thus independent in nature. These shall not be a basis nor an obstruction to getting into such fields. More so, restricting diversity within a cluster in fear of an unconventional atmosphere within the workplace is a futile stance of a stereotypic character.

Diversity within groups is as essential as how a recipe works with a variety of ingredients; each has its unique contribution to enrich the dish and make a bestseller out of it. Homogeneity tends to result in a shallow range of perception that affects the group’s general mantra, principles, and values; it connotes subjectivity and moral imbalance. Practicing inclusivity within an agency is an integral part of work ethics and a massive movement of accumulating diverse experience to conveniently identify the variety of effective approaches and solutions to eccentric and spontaneous circumstances that might arise. Every origin, for instance, in cultural context, has its distinct struggle, therefore adapting diversified environment is a smart position in achieving an efficient force in counterattacking probable conflicts. This might actually give birth to relevant researches not just to the mainstream society but even to the minorities due to being represented inside the organization.

Consistency in adapting inclusivity within the workplace could be inconsistent per se due to dynamic administrations. The major stance to preserve such quality is reforming the core vision, mission, and values of the organization integrating goals and rules with respect to just treatment regardless of origin, gender, and age, especially in the realm of job qualification. Furthermore, conducting intercultural space summits and field demonstrations could also aid the organization to promote inclusivity, equality, and diversity by showcasing to the public that it is explicitly practiced and recognized.

After all, our differences are just opinions. It takes a horizontal orientation of perceiving things to avoid creating unnecessary margins that might isolate some sectors away from the limelight. Therefore, if the variables are equally valued, treated, and discerned, dissimilarity would yield to zero.

Space ZERO: Launching Inclusivity, Equality, and Diversity (IED) into the Workspace is a piece by Sittie Aliezah Datucaca.

3rd Place Essay
Diversity and equality as the key factor for our space future

Throughout the history of humankind, we have gone through different periods characterized by social behaviors that have had a great impact on the evolution of science and technology. It could be noticed that the greatest advances and developments have been based on the participation of great diversity and equality, and fortunately, this trend is growing steadily today.

It is obvious that teamwork is vital and of great importance in any aspect of life, and even when in past times various sectors tried to impose the idea of an individual “scientific privilege” reserved for certain people, it was obvious not only that this path was not the correct one, but also that it was insufficient to carry out developments that exceeded simple concepts. Diversity and equality in technological and development challenges proved to be the key to ushering in a new era of science in the world. The difference between regions or countries where education and scientific participation is free and equally promoted and where prohibitions still exist is noticeable.

There is no doubt that there are no differences that justify any type of segmentation by gender, religious or political beliefs, and the only correct answer, as has been shown in recent history with the different cases that we see, is that everybody has per se the right to educate and develop as a professional, and to take part in the scientific fields that they wish with no Other requirements than the knowledge and the desire to contribute to humankind.

The space sector is perhaps the one that exposes any type of decision and work style, since being so high complexity and difficulty, the importance of diversity and equality is even more noticeable. When education is promoted equally, and people seek to work with the most suitable professionals, equality and diversity are inevitable (in a good meaning of the concept), and it is there where the best results are achieved, without this being possible in any other way.

With this in mind, for my part, I will try to promote research and development projects looking to work with participants of different characteristics and regions who can contribute with their knowledge and participate freely, encouraging the most relegated sectors to be part of the space science and being part of this change, aiming to change the vision of the most conservative companies, countries, and sectors.

Last but not least, I think that the last frontier when it comes to diversity and equality is placed in the economic and educational differences that exist between countries and regions around the globe. To solve this problem, the impulse and help that the main organizations and countries can give will be key, providing opportunities and knowledge with the objective that, to be part of the space sector, the only requirements will be to desire it and to work hard for it.

Diversity and equality as the key factor for our space future is a piece by Alexis Caratozzolo.

2nd Place Poster
Diversity and Equality in Philippine Space

Diversity and equality issues are being combatted, but men and women in the space sector can be seen working together despite distinctions of thoughts, experiences, age, culture, gender, and others. Truly, different perspectives are noteworthy. They give off deeper understanding and better prospects for they create innovative ideas and impart flexibility in work.

Diversity and Equality in Philippine Space is a creative work by Dhonalhee Jacob.

3rd Place Poster
For Future Equality and Safety Exploration: Space Junk Must Be Taken Action 

How can we; the future explorer and for the next generation, safely and surely succeed on further space missions? If and only millions of tiny inches or centimeters of metallic debris are left behind, just circling around our planet and still increasing by number.

So, with the little presentation; my poster conveys the equality and unity of humans on earth to slowly collect our own trash which unendingly orbiting our home. Although the process seems costly and needs a lot of effort, through each country’s support we can make it possible as one.

For Future Equality and Safety Exploration: Space Junk Must Be Taken Action is a creative work by Mark Sienes.