The Space4Women Network is a mentoring platform that promotes gender equality and gender empowerment in the space sector. Everyone with an interest in space and a willingness to support women and girls in space education and careers is welcome to submit an application to become part of the Network - either as a mentee seeking career and educational advice and support or as a mentor.
Space4Women Network Mentors are selected from leaders and professionals in the space industry and represent a variety of fields and geographic regions. Together, these mentors support women and girls around the world, and share their expertise, knowledge, and experiences to build an environment where women and girls play an active and equal role in space science, technology, innovation, and exploration. Mentors are involved in a number of initiatives aimed at advocacy, increasing access to education and professional opportunities, raising awareness, inspiring women and girls through personal stories, and career coaching.
At the United Nations Expert Meeting on Space for Women in October 2017, it was recommended that a Space4Women project be established to include a mentoring platform for advocacy and awareness raising. The importance of mentors and role models working in the industry was emphasized to coach, sponsor, and inspire women through their personal experiences. A network of role models of women in STEM and space may also help to reduce the "leaky pipeline" effect, where girls and women leave STEM subjects or the space sector as they progress through their careers. As a result, the Space4Women Network was born.
Role models are an important part of encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM education and careers in the space sector. Women and girls need the support of industry leaders - both men and women - to help break down barriers so that they can enter into careers and into decision-making and leadership positions in the space sector. At the same time, women and girls can benefit from the support of other women at all levels within the industry who can share their experiences and connections, provide guidance for career development, and support growth of women in the workforce.
With these benefits in mind, the objectives of the Space4Women Mentor Network are as follows:
to raise awareness and advocate for women and girls in STEM education and in the space sector.
for industry leaders - both men and women - to pledge their support for gender equality and gender empowerment, particularly in decision-making and leadership positions.
- to establish a group of Mentors from diverse professional backgrounds and geographic regions who work in the space sector to inspire, guide, and support women and girls in pursuing STEM education and careers in the space sector.
The Network is a valuable tool for engaging professionals to raise awareness on the importance of STEM education and the opportunities in the space field. The inclusion of mentors directly working in the industry creates value added by bringing the private sector into education, as well as helping to ensure that acquired skills can be transitioned and adaptable in the workplace.
The Space4Women Network will be focused on advocacy and awareness raising, to provide role models and mentors to inspire, guide, encourage, and support women and girls in pursuing STEM education and careers. Similarly, to extend networking opportunities and understand the importance and positive impact of STEM fields, the Space4Women Discussion Forum will serve as a central hub for global initiatives under the UN roof, allowing girls and young women to talk to one another, share and exchange information about working in space sector and about education in STEM fields. These measures are a response to recent studies which have showcased that lack of female role models is one of the main factors lowering the enrollment of women into STEM.
Applying to be a Mentee
Mentee applications to be matched with a 2020 Space4Women Network Mentor are now closed. Applications to be matched with a 2021 Space4Women Network Mentor will open in February 2021, after mentors have been selected to the network.
Applying to be a Mentor and Mentor Commitments
Applications to become a Space4Women mentor open in January. Due to the ongoing global situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the approach and expectations for the Space4Women Mentor Network are being adapted to meet and better suit the needs of mentors, mentees, and network mentors. The following information is subject to change, and is provided as general guidelines pending further updates.
Mentors in the Space4Women Network commit to:
- Encourage women and girls to pursue STEM education and enter careers in the space industry.
- Promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in STEM education and the space sector.
- Foster an enabling environment in space sector organizations that is inclusive, diverse, and free of bias.
- Support, raise awareness, and advocate on behalf of women in space to help advance women’s careers and provide opportunities in decision-making and leadership roles.
- Drive positive change within the space sector so that benefits of space reach women and girls around the world.
Role and Expectations of Mentors in the Network are:
- Promote the benefits of STEM and space education and careers and encourage women and girls to pursue these fields.
- Engage women and girls directly to share information and advice about space sector careers and opportunities.
- Provide mentorship and support to women in the region who are entering and employed in the space sector.
- Term of Appointment: 1 year (beginning in February)
- Pledge of support.
- Each Space4Women Network member makes two personal commitments to demonstrate how they are working toward creating change (e.g., coaching a colleague about opportunities for advancement within the space sector).
- At the end of the year, Mentors submit a short summary reporting on their contribution to gender equality and gender empowerment to women and girls in STEM and space as a Space4Women Network member.
- Mentors will be connected with potential mentees through the Space4Women initiative to facilitate networking and cooperation.
- Mentors agree to make their activities, achievements, and reports publicly available through the UNOOSA Space4Women website.
- Reports must be submitted before 15 Jan to be reconsidered for the following year.
- There will be a selection process for the Space4Women Network.
- Selection will be based upon experience, regional distribution, and expertise.
If you or someone you know is making a difference to women and girls in the Space community, please apply to join the Space4Women Network!