Empowering all Women, in Space and on Earth

Spotlight Corporate: ESA – October 2020

Over the last three years, under the leadership of the Director General Jan Wörner, the European Space Agency has endeavoured to put the values of diversity and inclusiveness high on its corporate agenda. Today, ESA is committed to creating a modern and inclusive working environment and is striving to enhance the innovative perspectives brought in by a diverse pool of talents.

The Agency aims at attracting and retaining a gender-balanced workforce, where young and more experienced people can leverage their talents and develop their skills, while taking stock of the wealth of competences and cultural backgrounds of its 22 Member
States. It is that richness of diversity, in competences, skills and points of view that allows ESA to achieve results that could be impossible to reach on the effort of single nations.

ESA’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness has received a heightened international recognition over the last months, as a sign of the growing relevance and visibility of the Agency’s efforts to pursue D&I values. In particular, after a competitive process with a number of international organisations and agencies, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) has selected the European Space Agency to receive the prestigious IAF Excellence in “3G” Diversity Award for its exceptional engagement towards diversity.

As outlined in their letter, ESA’s application was considered of exceptional merit and the
“Award Subcommittee was impressed by the accomplishment of the European Space Agency within the diversity area and would like to recognise its outstanding contributions to the fostering of the “3G” (Geography, Generation, Gender) diversity within the space sector”.

The IAF Excellence in “3G” Diversity Award is intended to recognise IAF member organisations (industry, government, academia) worldwide for distinguished contributions to fostering “3G” (geography, generation, gender) diversity within the space sector.

“This achievement motivates us to further reinforce our engagement to advancing and
promoting a diverse and inclusive space in Europe”, ESA Director General Jan Wörner said.

The European Space Agency has initiated multiple initiatives to foster diversity and
inclusiveness, and as also recognised by the International Astronautical Federation, a special focus has been put in ensuring a more diverse and gender-balanced workforce.

With this objective in mind, ESA has decided to undertake the EDGE Assessment and
Certification processto be concluded in the first trimester of 2021. EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) Certification is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality, which already includes in its customer base several other international organisations such as the OECD, UNICEF, the IMF, the World Bank, as well as the European Central Bank.

Launched in 2011, EDGE has been designed to help organisations create an optimal workplace for women and men and benefit from it. The EDGE Assessment will allow ESA to measure where the Agency stands with objective criteria, benchmark its initiatives against other organisations and inform its own strategies for continuously improving on gender equality in the workplace. Moreover, with the EDGE Certification, ESA will give visibility and credibility to its engagement in creating and ensuring  a diverse and gender-equal workplace. The certification will not only showcase a commitment  to a gender-balanced workforce but will also focus on impact and accountability for progress – with the final aim of serving as a model to the space community and beyond.

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