Dubai: Women must be afforded the same opportunities as men in the rapidly expanding space sector, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency said on Wednesday at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sarah Al Amiri’s remarks came during her keynote address at a panel discussion on ‘Expanding Equal Opportunities in the Space Economy’, organised by the UAE Gender Balance Council in collaboration with Women’s Pavilion as part of the Women’s World Majlis initiative.
Al Amiri delivered her speech in the presence of global experts and officials in the space industry and other related sectors. Panellists explored, among other issues, how to increase female participation in leadership roles in the space economy.
‘Race for space’
Al Amiri 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, she said, we need to create a framework that empowers, inspires and enables women to soar.
Gender balance a core principle
Al Amiri continued: “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 UAE. 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.”
Towards a more equitable future
Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, said that the Women’s World Majlis initiatives at the Expo are giving the world the opportunity to open meaningful dialogues 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, 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.
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.
‘Fundamental human right’
Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, 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 [science] and space. These are the fields that sit at the frontier of human potential, innovation, and ingenuity… Women are indeed a crucial part of the solution. Without them, we cannot make it.”