Contest Promotes Gender Parity in New Space Industry by Supporting Young Women in STEAM Education
NEW YORK, Aug. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Space Prize Foundation announces today the opening of Space Prize Portugal, a competition designed to encourage and inspire young women to pursue careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Following successful regional competitions in New York and Paris, Space Prize Portugal is brought to life by a partnership with Mario Ferreira, Portugal’s first citizen to cross the space frontier.
The 5 finalists and 2 grand prize winners of Space Prize Portugal will receive once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Finalists will receive one year of mentorship from a leader in the space industry, and the grand prize winners will also experience the weightlessness of space when they take an Air Zero G flight with the first Portuguese astronaut, Mário Ferreira. Additionally, winners will have access to other valuable opportunities such as exclusive internships, access to space education courses, study trips with industry experts and more.
For decades, the composition of workers in the space industry has not been representative of Earth’s diverse humanity; less than 12.5% of people who have traveled to space have been women. Further, female CEOs represent just 1 in 5 of leaders in aerospace and defense, even though space is one of the fastest growing sectors in business and innovation.
Kim Macharia, Executive Director of Space Prize, is passionate about diversifying and democratizing the space industry and advocates for the creation of nontraditional pathways for marginalized communities to engage in the growing space economy: “The space industry will never live up to its full potential until its workforce becomes more representative of the global population. This means we must address the gender disparities that plague the industry. The future of space, and humanity depends on it.”
Portuguese entrepreneur, investor and president of Pluris Investments Mario Ferreira says, “As the father of three amazing daughters, I am inspired every day to show them how critical it is for women and underrepresented communities to have a seat at the table and to create opportunities for more equitable representation. The work Space Prize is doing is so important, because it inspires a new generation to claim opportunities and share their voices. I am proud to be partnering with Space Prize.”
Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, CEO of Global Space Ventures and a Space Prize judge, adds, “I was happy to help fulfill Mario’s challenge and help bring Space Prize to Portugal. Just as Apollo inspired an entire generation, I hope Space Prize Portugal inspires the new generation in Portugal to reach for the stars! And I am thrilled about the significant positive impact this opportunity will have for Portuguese women and ultimately, women worldwide.”
Space Prize Portugal will be managed by Manuel Vaz, Founder of Expanding World, and is open to female Portuguese students aged 18-22. To enter, applicants will submit an essay and video on space exploration. Applications will be accepted between 4 September through 30 October and reviewed by a specially selected panel of space industry experts and gender equality advocates, with winners announced on 21 December.
For full competition details and timeline, please visit https://www.spaceprize.org.
About Space Prize
Space Prize was founded by Roman Chiporukha, Co-founder of Space VIP. Space Prize seeks to promote universal space literacy and inspire the next generation of private astronauts by connecting private citizens with a thrilling range of astronaut, earthanaut and aquanaut experiences.