Space Conference Offers Free Tickets to Women

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The EarthLight Foundation's New Worlds Space Settlement Conference takes a bold move to support gender parity in the space field by offering half of its tickets for free to female attendees.

We need everyone, from every background and every profession. If we are to take the giant leap of opening the frontier to humanity, we have to finally take what should be the relatively small step of bridging the gender gap.

The Earthlight Foundation (EarthLight) announced that its New Worlds Conference, Nov. 15-16 in Austin, Texas is offering free tickets to women attendees. The event is focused on bringing together the astronauts, artists, engineers and entrepreneurs who will make space settlement a reality, and to EarthLight and the New Worlds Conference, that means everyone. Given the settlement goal, it seemed obvious to the event’s organizers that the ratio of men to women in the current aerospace industry is unacceptable. So they are doing something about it.

“Just 25% of the Aerospace workforce is women and only 11% of space explorers have been women, and yet, we’ll need a minimum of 51% women to make off-world settlements viable,” said EarthLight Board Member Meagan Crawford. “It has become stylish to hold panels, sessions, and discussions about what to do to solve the gender parity problem, but we decided to stop talking about it and take action. It’s our goal to encourage and engage as many women as possible to join this movement and become leaders in the opening of the high frontier.”

While the two-day conference rate of $175 is already one of the lowest in the field, EarthLight will be offering 50% of these tickets to women for free.

“Look, this isn’t about charity or any implication that women can’t afford to buy tickets or pay their own way. Quite the opposite,” said EarthLight Founder Rick Tumlinson. “We need women engineers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. We need women leading the groups going out to settle the New Worlds of space. The New Worlds Conference is a place where spacers meet, deals are done, and plans are laid. If these free tickets help incentivize even one woman to join in this important work, it will be worth it.”

According to the leadership of EarthLight, the decision came after a critical examination of the importance of conferences and symposia to the space industry ecosystem. These events are where informal relationships are built and alliances are forged - often leading to new projects and companies. EarthLight believes it is important that women be offered a more direct invitation to join in on such opportunities and hopes these free tickets can be that invitation.

“There is a place for everyone in this movement, and while we are focusing this initiative on women, more needs to be done across the field to create and empower a much more diverse space community,” said Haroon Oqab, EarthLight Executive Director. “Our fundamental philosophy is that everyone has something to contribute to humanity’s breakout into space and The New Worlds Conference is calling for everyone to join us!”

Women who are interested in claiming their free ticket can register online at http://earthlightfoundation.org/women/. Sponsors interested in helping support this important initiative are encouraged to reach out to the organization directly to learn about support opportunities that will help engage women, students, and the world at large in supporting space settlement.

“We will soon see the first woman on the Moon, and the first woman on Mars. But this isn’t good enough,” continued Earthlight Founder Rick Tumlinson. “Women astronauts and cosmonauts are great, but insufficient. We need everyone, from every background and every profession. If we are to take the giant leap of opening the frontier to humanity, we have to finally take what should be the relatively small step of bridging the gender gap.”

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