- When Amel Amin joined the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, there was only one female engineer there
- Today, more than 80 percent of applicants are women
- 80 percent of applications are from university students, 75 percent of which are from women
- Of the 15 university students who currently work at the MBRSC, 11 are women
Five years ago when engineer Amel Amin joined the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, there was only one female engineer employed there. But, fast forward to today, more than 80 percent of applications received by the center are from women.
Women are taking a lead role when it comes to engineering and contribution to the space industry in the UAE, Amin said at the sidelines of the High Level Forum, which is being hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and jointly organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the UAE Space Agency.
Amin said that the center received more than 80 applications this year from university students who were looking to join them and 75 of those applying were women.
"The change is mostly because the work has become localized. In the past 10 years, we had a lot of the work done in South Korea, so we would have to relocate and work there. It was harder for girls to join, but since the work has moved to the UAE, we've seen a lot of the engagement from girls," Amin, who is currently the head of education unit at the MBRSC, said.
"Even through the application process, we see more girls wanting to join. We have around 180 engineers at the center and it's about 40 percent females and 60 percent men. When I joined five years ago, I was the second female engineer to join the space center. Because of the movement back to the UAE, we had a huge change that happened - from two female engineers to 40 percent females.
- In a World With Robocops and Flying Taxis, Should AI be Taught in Schools? Dubai Teachers Weigh in
- 5 Projects That Will Make Dubai the Mecca for Futuristic Technology
Amin also pointed out that of the 15 university students who currently work at the MBRSC, 11 are women.
"I think this reflects what you see in universities these days because more girls are graduating in engineering than males," she said.
The MBRSC looks after the space projects taking place in the UAE, including the country's satellites - DubaiSat 1, DubaiSat 2, Nayif-1 and Khalifa Sat.
The rise of women in other areas of the space industry is also visible at the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) program.
The EMM project manager Omran Sharaf said that women are playing a "vital role" in the program.
"When you look at the role of the women in the Emirates Mars Mission, they play a vital role. More than 40 percent of our team members are women," he said. "Within the mission, we have eight deputies and three of them are women. One thing we are always proud of is that the role of Emirati women in taking us to Mars."
The EMM aims to launch an unmanned spacecraft to Mars by 2020 to study the planet's atmosphere and climate. The data that will be gathered by the spacecraft, named Hope, will be disseminated to the public for free, Sharaf said.
This article has been adapted from its original source.