Enhancing Women Participation in the African Space Industry – Essay Competition

It’s no mystery that women are underrepresented in various science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors around the world. A UNESCO report reveals that women enrollment in STEM studies is low, ranging from  ICT (3%); natural sciences, mathematics and statistics (5%); as well as engineering, manufacturing and construction (8%). But what about when it comes to space career?

Globally, the gender gap in space exploration is far below the 35% average for all STEM fields. According to a Big Think infographic on Women in Space, since 1961 almost 550 people have been to space, but less than 11% have been women. The situation is not different in Africa.

Africa is witnessing a growing interest in the space sector, however, there is no indication of growth in the number of women who are joining their male counterparts in the space industry. The gender gap is a concern for the few women who are active players in the industry.  

In commemoration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Space in Africa is calling on female students and young professionals in Africa to submit an essay to address the gender gap in the African space industry.

So, we want to hear from you! In 500 – 750 words, tell us how we can get more women in Africa to pursue a career in space science and technology: “What will it take to enhance the participation of women and girls in space in Africa?”


The essay will be assessed based on the following:

  1. Originality
  2. Innovation and Creativity
  3. Feasibility and relevance
  4. Scalability
  5. Clarity in writing and presentation
  6. Impact on development and Potential impact on jobs.


To be eligible for the essay contest, you must:


  1. The author of the winning essay will receive a scholarship (up to $USD500 to cover airfare from home country to Morocco) to attend the Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries coming up in Marrakesh, Morocco between 24-26 April 2019.
  2. The winning essay will be published on Space in Africa.
  3. Top 10 finalists essays would be published in Springer’s Southern Space Studies Series


The competition is open till March 2, 2019, and the winner will be announced on March 10, 2019. The competition will be judged by a high level panel of industry experts.


The essay should be written in English.
The submission shall include the original essay in PDF, Doc or Docx format and a head-shot photo of the author. Note: Previously published essays, either shared online or offline, are not eligible for consideration.
The judges will consider only entries submitted via the essay submission form.