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Eight steps to advance diversity at ESA

Share of women recruited by ESA each year. Credit: ESA

Budapest, 25 October 2022. – The European Space Agency (ESA) introduced eight steps to advance diversity and inclusiveness as part of its Agenda 2025 to complete the ESA Transformation, ESA said. The Agency claims that these steps will contribute to strengthening innovation and motivation, decreasing resistance to change, and fostering knowledge sharing. 

ESA aims to make the values of diversity and inclusiveness an “integral part of its culture” backed by the Member States. Under the program, the Agency will reinforce its efforts to reach out to a wider community. In addition, it will ensure that different perspectives are not only welcome but valued at the workplace as well.

Beyond geographical diversity, the Eight Steps Forward will address gender, generation, disabilities and identity. The percentage of female staff at ESA is currently at 29%, which the Agency wants to increase to 40% by 2025. Female representation in leadership positions reached 17% in 2021, while the same value was 8% in 2016. In addition to recruiting more women, ESA is also committing to using gender-inclusive language.

The Agency is planning to decrease the average age of workforce, which currently stands at 49.2 years, to tackle generational diversity. This means that it has to attract the younger generations. In light of this, ESA will review its Young Graduate Trainee and Research Fellow programmes. The Agency will also adopt new digital tools and technologies and remove physical barriers to accommodate the recruitment of people with disabilities.

The Eight Steps Forward are the following:

  1. Raise the number of female staff to 40% by 2025
  2. Make ESA’s commitment to a gender-balanced workforce visible
  3. Strive to ensure gender diversity in evaluation panels and in other relevant advisory bodies
  4. Increase the number of new recruits with disabilities
  5. Remove physical barriers
  6. Ensure a work environment where staff can be comfortable and confident about their identity
  7. Reduce the workforce’s average age
  8. Secure support for the leadership team in enhancing diversity and inclusiveness while also ensuring progress communication both internally and externally

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