Two nationalities, Russian and Swedish; three Master's degrees, and 25 years of age make one aerospace engineer and young scientist. In space, I am above all passionate about human exploration of Mars and international collaboration. Born in 1994, I am at the beginning of my career path but its Martian roots go far back and it has already been a journey for me to get here.
Precisely, 10804 km of aspirations, dreams, limitations, failures and successes. Apparently, a space trip is a bumpy ride.
My roots stretch back to Khabarovsk a Far Eastern city in Russia so far from the space industry, I hid my space dream so deep that not a single person knew of my passion until 18 years later, already in Stockholm, Sweden, after I had applied exclusively for Aerospace Engineering at KTH. Having evolved from someone who had once buried her dream to dig it back up half way around the globe to somebody friends call "the Mars girl", I would like to tell you never to give up on your dreams.
You know, there are many severe dust storms on Mars, but remember to dust off your dream and remind yourself of what it was before the storm; my enduring dream is to contribute to the international human exploration of Mars. Nurture your dreams, in many ways they make us who we are.
Our Giant Leap: towards a more diverse and gender-balanced workforce of the aerospace sector
Our Giant Leap (OGL) is a forward-looking initiative of the global non-governmental, non-profit organisation and network of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) that embraces diversity and gender balance in the aerospace sector. OGL is built on three pillars: inspiration, education and community. The uniqueness of this organisation is in its proximity to the young professionals, students and senior advisors of the sector and its concretised plans to ameliorate the current state of affairs, primarily the globally low representation of women across occupations and the career ladder. This identified the main goal of OGL for 2020: focus on the women of aerospace, educate SGAC delegates about the challenges that female colleagues must overcome to start and keep working in the sector and propose solutions for various related issues. The strong points of the SGAC is that it represents the voice of the space youth on, among other, how the space workforce should develop, and their ideas are presented to the Organisation of the United Nations in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.
Women of the sector often learn to overlook the stigma of discrimination and accept it as the burden of traditionally male dominated work field but as we look into the future of space, at OGL we see the need for change. However, fighting discrimination is not the lone objective of OGL. The community aims to inspire young women to choose the path of science, technology, engineering and research; propose mentorship strategies for young space professionals in academia, industry and space agencies; find solutions to concrete issues raised by members, i.e. pay gap and maternity/paternity leave and come back.
An expected outcome of the activities held through networking and uniting international communities is a set of recommendations and step-by-step strategies as well as descriptions of trainings to be held in companies, non-profits, academia and space agencies. The goal is to make these documents accessible to the Human Resources of such entities and all members of the OGL's network.
OGL offers a system, a networking platform for the space sector to utilise in order to break stereotypes and embrace diversity for the full palette of opportunity and ingenuity that it presents. There is no doubt about diversity being the bright way for space workforce development to follow. A significant step, or leap, of the way is valorising women of the sector.