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  • SIA-India organizes ‘Tech Women in Space’ to discuss role and opportunities for women in space sector

    Published on October 7, 2021

    -The World Space Week conducted by the UN is an annual event with participation from over 96 countries between 4-10 October.

    New Delhi:  As India gears up to become a world leader in space, SIA-India organized ‘Tech Women in Space’, a panel discussion to talk about opportunities, role and importance of women leaders in the Indian space sector. Staying true to this year’s theme ‘Women in Space’, it invited eminent women speakers who have made a mark for themselves in the space tech business.

    The panelists discussed opportunities created in the sector by the opening up of the space economy by the Indian government.  Eminent dignitaries and luminaries including Dr. Subba Rao Pavuluri (President, SIA-India), Dr. VR Lalithambika (Head of Human Space Program at ISRO), Dr. Susmita Mohanty (Spaceship Designer and CEO, Earth2Orbit), Ms. Neelu Khatri (SVP Govt Affairs, Akasa Air), and Ms. Jenna Tiwana (Global Team, SPACETIDE) graced the event with their presence.

    The World Space Week conducted by the UN is an annual event with participation from over 96 countries. Held annually between 4-10 October, it consists of space education and outreach events held by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetarium, museums, and astronomy clubs around the world in a common timeframe.

    On this occasion, Dr. Subba Rao Pavuluri, President, SIA-India said, “India has a tremendous potential to be a world leader in the space sector and can contribute substantially to achieve the target of a 5 trillion-dollar economy. The current generation has the capabilities to accelerate the growth and raise the bar higher with the spirit of innovation. Even for women, the sky is not the limit in fact, there is no limit to what they can achieve. With vision, ambition and willingness to work hard, they can break the limits, scale new heights and motivate youngsters to join the space ecosystem.”

    India will set targets to increase its share in the global space economy from less than 2% at the moment to 10%. Soon, the space sector will not only be open in India but also to foreign investments. ISRO on the other hand will concentrate on research and development as well as space science missions.

    Talking about more participation of women in the sector, Dr. VR Lalithambika, Head of Human Space Program at ISRO, said, “Women need to take more responsible roles at ISRO.  At present, the participation of women at ISRO is at 20% and this ratio is going to get better in coming times. They need to step out of their comfort zones as the nature of work requires a lot of travelling and of course working late.  If I had the time all over again I would have stepped out of my comfort zone earlier and more often.”

    Dr. Susmita Mohanty, Spaceship Designer and CEO, Earth2Orbit  shared her insights on how women interested in space or science disciplines can make a promising career. “In the last 20 years, ISRO and NASA have had the best gender ratio in the world. Despite having several successful women heading rocket programmes, satellite programmes, not a single woman in the last 5 decades has headed any major ISRO center or become the chairperson of ISRO. My advice to aspirants will be to stay out of the rat race like big entrance exams. They should step back and think to figure out their path, no matter how long it takes. Also, they have to be fearless and should not give up because results take time in this sector.” 

    Ms. Neelu Khatri, SVP Govt Affairs, Akasa Air  resonated the sentiments and added that “to change the status quo, hard work is the only fool-proof formula for success.” Similarly, Jenna Tiwana of the Global Team, SPACETIDE, added that “one needed to be flexible and adaptive to adjust to any culture and space where finding a balance between your dreams and gut instinct is important.”