The Inspiring Girls Foundation and HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite communications operator, joined forces to host an event entitled “Girls and the Space Sector” at the Space Centre of the National Aerospace Technical Institute (INTA) in Maspalomas, Canary Islands, with 50 girls attending from the Guanarteme de Las Palmas high school.
The president of HISPASAT, Elena Pisonero, the Director of Communications, Cristina Perez Cantó, and the engineers Nuria Candelaria Trujillo, Herenia Barrera and Andrea Peña participated as volunteers in a speed networking event with the young girls, sharing personal and professional experiences in order to show them that the space sector can be an interesting choice for them and a sector with many professional opportunities for women. The women also spoke with the girls about the obstacles they have faced throughout their careers and how they have overcome them. The women also answered all the questions the girls asked, spending a unique and inspiring morning in the Space Centre’s installations, where HISPASAT has one of its control and monitoring centres. During the highly innovative event, the volunteers rotated in 10 minute-rounds throughout all the girls’ tables. The visitors were also allowed to see the installations.
“This has been a very worthwhile experience,” said Elena Pisonero, the president of HISPASAT. “Our sector is highly technical and specialised and there are not so many women. Therefore, it is essential for us to promote technical professions for women and we here in HISPASAT work along these lines so that our sector can be sustainable. We have to motivate these girls while they’re young, as some of them will be future engineers that will operate our fleet or will develop new, innovative satellite projects.”
The event finished with an activity which featured, in addition to HISPASAT’s president, Colonel Rafael Sahagún, director of the Maspalomas Space Centre, and Marta Pérez Dorao, president of the Inspiring Girls Foundation.
“The space sector is a field with enormous opportunities for our young girls: from Aeronautics Engineering to Telecommunications, Systems Engineering, logistics or experts in different technologies related to the sector, there are opportunities which our young girls do not know about,” said Marta Perez Dorao. “Therefore we need leading companies and the women in them to become more visible so that the girls can think: If Elena, Nuria or Andrea can do it, I can too: that’s why being here today is truly motivating for us, showing the girls that STEM careers can open many professional possibilities for them and that these careers are also a professional alternative for them”.
The closing ceremony for the event was led by Maria Teresa Máyans Vázquez, Vice Delegate of the Government in Las Palmas. “We are breaking moulds. What we dream can be reality and we should not put limits on our professional paths. There is nothing that can stop us”, she said.
Among those attending were María Nebot Cabrera, Minister of Equality and Citizen Participation of the Government of Gran Canaria and Marco Aurelio Pérez, mayor of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, the town where the Maspalomas Space Centre is located.