Dear WIA Members,
As Chair for Women in Aerospace, I have been talking with many of you and other colleagues regarding how WIA could best respond to the racial injustice that has rightly come center stage in the American dialogue. We do not accept the injustice that continues to involve acts against people of color. WIA is built on tenets of inclusion, knowing that we all need to work together to promote a vibrant, diverse, and accepting aerospace community. That being said, this dialogue on racial injustice brings to light the continuous work we still need to do to create diversity in our programs, events, and other efforts.
Here are some numbers from the National Science Foundation Science and Engineering Indicators. The data for under-represented minorities is very concerning. The proportion of individuals from under-represented groups in science and engineering jobs, although up from 9% in 2003 to 13% in 2017, remains below their share of the college-educated workforce (17%). The share of black individuals in science and engineering is 6%. Black individuals comprise 4.7% of the workforce in physical sciences and 4% of the engineering workforce. This is way too low.
I would like to hear any thoughts, observations, or suggestions you might have on ways WIA can improve its inclusion and diversity efforts. My conversations with many of you thus far have brought forth ideas such as forming a focus group, task force, or other efforts to develop ways WIA can promote diversity and inclusion. Such a group might be one avenue, but cannot be the only one, as we all need to be committed to this effort.
We are a very proud organization who strives on the contributions and feedback from each of you. Which is why we believe that every insight leads to a positive action. Today, and every day, we ask for your thoughts and observations. We are establishing a special email alias for your thoughts on this issue and on what WIA can do to address it. Please send input to firstname.lastname@example.org. WIA has the power and authority to make an impact and to lead during this time. It is my hope that each of us can continue to strive for the change that is needed, together.
Rebecca Keiser Chair, Women in Aerospace