Expanding Equal Opportunities - GulfToday

Expanding Equal Opportunities


Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency

As part of the Women’s World Majlis initiative, one of many key activities at the Women’s Pavilion in Expo 2020, the UAE Gender Balance Council in collaboration with Women’s Pavilion organised a panel discussion titled ‘Expanding Equal Opportunities in the Space Economy’.

Panelists discussed their vision on the future of the space industry and the need for a more inclusive and diverse sector. From exploring space resources such as mining asteroids, to space tourism, from designing more economic and sustainable rockets and space equipment to satellites providing broadband internet and invaluable data for sustainable development, the space industry is expected to generate a revenue of more than $1 trillion or more by 2040, up from $350 billion today according to research by Morgan Stanley.

 Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, delivered an insightful keynote speech, in the presence of key global experts and officials in the space industry and other related sectors including Marcos Pontes, Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, Brazil; Simonetta Di Pippo, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Director, Italy; Maruška Strah, World Space Week, NGO, Slovenia ; Ksenia Moskalenko, CEO, Co-founder, Mission Space LLC, Latvia; Dr Jane Olwoch, Executive Director at the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapative Land Management; Dr Hina Khan, Programme Manager at Spire Global, UK; Dr Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr., Director General of the Philippine Space Agency; Naoko Yamazaki, Former Astronaut at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Space Policy Committee member and second Japanese woman to fly in space; Dr Michaela Musilová, Director, HI-SEAS simulated missions, Slovakia; as well as the Moroccan Astronomer and Explorer Merieme Chadid. The session was moderated by Shelli Brunswick, Chief Operating Officer of Space Foundation, US.

Panelists explored the benefits stemming from the space industry and discussed ways to build a more prosperous and equitable future for all, amid current legality of commercial uses of outer space. The unique insights and experiences gained by the panelists through achieving excellence in their respective professional fields led to an inspirational and engaging debate on how the space industry can flourish in a sustainable way, how to increase female participation in leadership roles in the space economy and how having a gender-equitable space economy can further advance sustainable development.

In her keynote speeh, Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency said: “Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Week represents an opportunity to launch a new era of global partnership that enable every nation to embrace space.

Nations big and small, economies developed and developing must all have the opportunity to venture into the universe. And as the race for space gathers momentum, it is a social and economic imperative to ensure that women are afforded the same opportunities.”

She added that there has been no shortage of women determined to make a mark in aviation and aeronautics. For the space industry to flourish in the future, we need to create a framework that empowers, inspires and enables women to soar.

She continued saying: “Empowering women has been a key pillar of social and economic growth ever since the UAE was formed 50 years ago. Gender balance has been one of the UAE’s core principles ever since our wise leaders came together to create the ambitious, outward-looking United Arab Emirates. Enabling the next generation of women is a key component of our country’s vision for the next 50 years as we celebrate our Golden Jubilee this year.”

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council said that the Women’s World Majlis initiatives at EXPO 2020 Dubai are giving the world the opportunity to open meaningful dialogues, conversations that can fuel change and build a more equitable future for all. She also pointed out that the initiatives shed light on topics around women and ways to promote gender balance across the world, to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically the fifth one on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

She also stressed that Emirati women are already playing a pivotal role in the UAE’s space sector but it is important to empower women to reach for the stars across the globe.

The space sector is more than just space exploration missions, space is a whole ecosystem that provides remarkable economic opportunities and benefits all of humanity. She expressed her pride in the accomplishments of Emirati Women in this vital sector. The remarkable progress that we see today concerning women’s participation and their many achievements within various fields, is the result of our wise leadership’s vision and support.

Marcos Pontes, Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, Brazil praised the UAE’s efforts towards gender balance and women’s successes across different fields. He added that he hopes to see many more young girls and women succeed in life and pursue their career ambitions.

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Italy said: “Equality between men and women is not only a fundamental human right, but also the pre-condition for building the future we want. It is critically important we bring and empower women in STEM and space. These are the fields that sit at the frontier of human potential, innovation, and ingenuity. Fully involving women and girls means we tap their potential, talents, perspectives, skills and knowledge to truly change the world. Women are indeed a crucial part of the solution. Without them, we cannot make it.”

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