Virgin Galactic will host a diversity event this fall called ‘The SUMMIT: The Power of Inclusion’ in what the company calls an effort to increase the presence of women and minorities in the space industry. The private spaceflight company is partnering with the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight for the summit, which will take place October 14.
Diversity has been repeatedly shown to have wide-ranging benefits for every industry, of course, but especially for the space industry. STEM fields are, as we know, dominated by white dudes, so Virgin Galactic’s choice to focus on how it can be better is laudable.
There are some peculiarities, however, in some of the company’s promotional methods for the workshop, beginning with why the website chose to include a subhead called “Workshop details” in its informational section and then answer it, somewhat forebodingly, with “We will take care of all the details.” There is no information as to what sort of economically diverse attendees Virgin Galactic expects to attract, since the event costs $500 per person (but includes lunch!). The site then says it will take us precisely 120 seconds to create an ISPCS profile, but then tells us only 45 people will be allowed to attend. Are we racing?
Lastly, Virgin Galactic and the ISPCS ask the public to consider “What does success look like, without self at the center?” which one can only hope it took into account before planning this conference. We’ll have to wait and see what those 45 people with half a grand to spend on a one-day conference report back about diversity.