Our Islands, Our Future

An inaugural evening event at the 23rd annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference, Women & Allies in Space Domain Awareness (SDA), was presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB). The featured speaker, Dr. Ezinne Uzo-Okoro, is Assistant Director for Space Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The goal was to empower the community of women and non-gender-specific SDA professionals and heighten the awareness of gender disparity within space-related careers. The technology industry has certainly diversified in recent years, but there is much more to be done before the space industry is completely inclusive.

“Only one in five space professionals identify as female or non-gender specific,” said Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO. “This statistic has only minimally fluctuated in the last 30 years. Change often starts with community advocacy and amplification of the issue. The Women & Allies SDA celebration seeks to achieve this goal.”

Uzo-Okoro noted, “Space is a source of innovation and opportunity for all Americans and our international partners. It is thrilling that a women’s group in SDA and Space Sustainability gathered at the AMOS Conference. On December 1, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration released its Space Priorities Framework at its inaugural National Space Council meeting which prioritizes U.S. benefits from space activities. We explained how our nation and all nations and people around the world benefit from space programs and missions.”

“We think about all the ways that space activities enable the U.S. and global economy,” Uzo-Okoro continued. “It provide us with data to enable everyday activities, weather prediction, preparedness, and response to natural disasters; track our space debris; and expand our international partnerships. Space sustainability affects all Americans, so equitable access and opportunity in the space sector is important. It is wonderful to see women leaders and future women leaders who enable and will continue to enable U.S. leadership in space science and technology around the world.”

Wilkins added, “MEDB is proud to offer this new event at the AMOS Conference. The promise of a shared experience and supportive career progression for previously underrepresented groups will be transformative for the space industry’s diverse future.”

Today, as we stand on the threshold of returning to the moon and exploring deep space, we need to ensure women and allies can contribute to making progress on both fronts. Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO