Diversity in STEM: NASA and ESA on inclusion in space

A building with the NASA logo
“If you look at pictures of some of NASA’s first astronauts, you might notice they all have something in common — every one of them is a white man...Women were only able to apply to NASA's astronaut corps starting in 1983 and, to date, out of about 600 people who have been to space, far less than 100 have been people of color, and only four Black women in history have been to space.”

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There has always been a lack of diversity in STEM. NASA and ESA are looking to change that.

“If you look at pictures of some of NASA’s first astronauts, you might notice they all have something in common — every one of them is a white man…Women were only able to apply to NASA’s astronaut corps starting in 1983 and, to date, out of about 600 people who have been to space, far less than 100 have been people of color, and only four Black women in history have been to space.”

Last week, NASA and the ESA shared ways they are planning to increase diversity and inclusion in spaceflight, such as through funding research by and giving awards to scientists from marginalized backgrounds. With this, the ESA is taking steps to include an astronaut with a physical disability on spaceflights. They are hoping to provide the inspiration and research for other space agencies to do the same. 

Bowersox, a former astronaut, said the reason for space research and exploration “is to expand humanity out into the solar system…Well, if it’s got to be humanity, it can’t just be one small group of humanity. It has to be everybody.”

Many companies that historically lack diversity struggle to successfully recruit diverse talent and ensure that they are welcomed throughout the company. Efforts, like those of NASA and ESA, are the first steps toward diversity in STEM, but there is so much more that needs to be done. This is where ideascape comes in. We help members establish meaningful DEI strategies that prepare entire organizations for new initiatives and practices. Contact Jonathan Dyke and Deon Gaines to learn more.

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