23 March 2012

Women in Aerospace

In celebration of Women's History Month, NASA conducted a one day conference titled "Women, Innovation and Aerospace" (WIA) at George Washington University on March 8th. A4H Associate Member Kavya Manyapu represented Boeing at the event, which highlighted women's contributions to innovation and progress in the aerospace community. The conference also focused on issues and challenges faced by women in the aerospace workforce, which is primarily dominated by men. The aim of the conference was to inspire and encourage young girls to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions. In the photo below, Kayva (right) and her colleague are pictured with NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden.

According to a 2010 National Science Board study, women comprise less than 25% of the workforce in STEM fields. Women@NASA comprise one third of the space agency's employees, making NASA one of the largest employers of women aerospace professionals. However, only 53 of the 500 astronauts who have flown in space were women. Therefore, it is imperative that an effort be made to not only encourage young women into STEM fields but also to break down existing workforce barriers using innovative strategies to inspire, recruit, and retain women in STEM careers.

A4H shares this value and is open to prospective astronauts of any gender or nationality. Currently, 22 of A4H's 85 members are female. We are proud of Kavya's participation in the WIA conference and the valuable role she plays both within A4H and as a flight test engineer in the Boeing Commercial Crew Space Program. Like many other A4H members, Kavya has participated in a simulated Mars mission at the Mars Desert Research Station. We'll leave you with a documentary video (in French) featuring her activities there.

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