Since May this year, women working in Aerospace in Europe have their own association devoted to expand women’s opportunities for leadership and increase their visibility in the aerospace community, also through the creation of a network in Europe and across the globe.
WIA Europe was initiated by Simonetta Di Pippo (ESA Director of Human Spaceflight) who serves as President of the organisation and Claudia Kessler (CEO of HE Space Operations) who is Chair of the Board of Directors.
On 15 June 2009, Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General officially announced the creation of WIA Europe, at the Le Bourget Air Show in Paris, in the European Space Agency (ESA) Pavilion. Since then the association is growing steadily.
For more than 20 years in the USA, Women in Aerospace (WIA) has been dedicated exactly to the same scope. The goal the two associations have is to expand this network to a global organisation. With this in mind, the two sister associations signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of strengthening their relationship on the way to build up a global network. The initiative is the first of its kind in the world, and it embraces the expansion of values such as equality and diversity.
On the occasion, WIA President Europe Simonetta Di Pippo said: “The agreement recently signed between WIA and WIA Europe is a great milestone in our joint project for both sides of the ocean: to create a Global Women in Aerospace organisation, with no distinction of race, religion, gender, culture, origins”.
“That’s the main long-term goal of our associations, and our joint aim is to do it through our in depth participation in the decision-making process in the aerospace field, globally but first of all on a local scale. When diversity will be recognised as an asset, the objective is reached. Let’s work together for a future without discriminations”.
This will be done taking into account the main goals of WIA Europe, namely:
- Be a networking platform for women in leading positions in Aerospace or other technological areas.
- Foster and promote the interests of women working in aerospace.
- Promote and improve the access of females to technical areas and the space sector.
- Advance aerospace education in schools and universities
- Advocate the further investment in space projects in the political environment.
- Cooperate for the improvement and stabilisation of the position of women in the aerospace profession.
- Be an ambassador for Space in Society, Culture and Philosophy.
As Claudia Kessler, WIA Europe Chair of the Board of Directors, pointed out: “WIA-Europe has already gained the strong support of the European Space Agency, EADS Astrium, DLR, the German Space Agency and HE Space Operations. More and more companies are requesting to become corporate members. This high-level support, together with a daily increase in the number of individual new members, gives WIA-Europe a great start and demonstrates the credibility of WIA Europe’s mission, even more in a global context.”
Women in Aerospace Europe will be launching their brand new website as of 1 December 2009.