Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend the Women in Space conference. I felt that I learned a lot and gained a deeper appreciation for the struggles that many women and non-binary folk face. To see some of the latest posts on the conference check out their hashtag on twitter #WomenInSpaceCon.
I attended this conference with two classmates, Jahnavi Shah and Kelsey Doerksen. They helped contribute to my knowledge and are excellent people who are worth checking out! This burgeoning conference had many positive aspects to it: panels on diversity, LGBTQIA+ issues, harassment, and work-life balance. Plus plenty of science to boot! One of my favorite talks was given by Alysa Obertas, who works on orbital dynamics of exoplanet systems. Her presentation was focused on the orbital resonances of the neighboring exoplanets! The panels offered good insight into how we, as a community, can support our fellow humans and do better towards making a more equitable future. The onus is not really on women to make a better future, it’s on people like me and with women leading the way.
The challenge of conferences like these are that they can often be an echo chamber. A lot of these talks of gender equality were spoken to a room full of people who already care about these issues. It is important to educate the base and inform ourselves about how to move forward. It’s also imperative that the rest of the population focuses on these issues as well and that’s how meaningful positive change can happen. Turning a blind eye or just marking time on these issues ultimately hurts the cause. If you agree with even some of the issues then I strongly implore you to take action in whatever way you can. For yourself, for your loved ones, for the movement.