August 20, 0001 / September 1, 2017
According to some recent sources, only 15% of the 100,000~ people that have signed Asgardia’s constitution are women. This blog explores that number and what it might mean for the future.
This is a cross-post from my blog, you can view the original here.
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Posted by Ross | Sep 1, 2017
What does Asgardia’s 15% mean for our future?
The first I heard about this figure was from the Wall Street Journal, and later from the Times, they maintain that only 15% of the people that voted for the constitution (which at the time had been signed by about 100,000 people.) were females, but what does that really mean to the project? Does it matter that we appear to have so few females in our ranks and what can we do to address this small number?
(A woman gazing up to the stars. Photograph via Unsplash)
I think that the first thing we need to look at is why are the numbers so low?
Asgardia itself currently exists in a very unique ‘space’ – It exists pretty much on paper and in the minds of the visionaries that want to make it work. The topic of ‘Space’ immediatly puts this into the realm of ‘science fiction,’ a genre dominated by male readers and writers. So when people hear about Asgardia and it’s lofty goals, it’s easy to be put off.
The elements of Asgardia that make the news are typically things like the development of space platforms and planetary defence weapons and defending humanity from threats from outer space. These things currently only exist in the realm of science fiction.
If we look past people’s perceptions of Asgardia and focus on what it’s really about, we find at the core it’s about Science, Technology and the development and protection of humanity. Infact, in the core concept, 2 of the 3 parts that make up the project’s concept focus wholly on science and technology.(source: https://asgardia.space/en/word)
Classically, women in the STEM fields are underrepresented or have less interested in STEM disciplines than men. Only 13% of all people working in a STEM are female.
With Asgardia’s focus on science, technology and near science-fiction goals, it’s easy to see why this might not be the most attractive community for the majority of women.
However, as Asgardia expands and starts to create results and communities, the appeal of the Space Kingdom will grow and the demographic will start to increase in diversity. People will start to understand that there is a lot more to it than science and technology.
We have teachers, artists, creators, carers and people that genuinely care for the welfare of the planet. It’s a project that will appeal to a great deal of people and by the time we’re actually ready to move up and start building platforms in space, then people of all genders and backgrounds are going to be chomping at the bit to join.
“Only 13% of all people working in a STEM field are female.”
(Picture of a woman reading a book. Photograph via Unsplash)
So we’ve addressed why the population of women is so low. But why does a low population of female asgardians cause problems for us?
Firstly people seem to have this notion that Asgardians are a group of people that simply want to rise up and colonise space. I was recently interviewed for an article that is set to appear in The Times (UK) and the question I was asked was:
Wouldn’t that be a problem if there was a colony in space with only 15% women?
My first response to this question was that at the core of our concept, we want space to be accessible by everyone, regardless of their geographic location, wealth or religion.
We’re not looking to assemble and all just abandon earth and head for the stars and start to compete with ‘humanity’. We want to be an independent nation of Earthlings that gradually expand our territories into space. Article 5 of the constitutionon Territory outlines our plans of expansion and it clearly mentions having territories on earth, earth orbit and celestial bodies.
The intermingling between people of all genetic backgrounds will still be intrinsically possible, regardless of what Asgardia’s current digital population. So it’s a moot question.
But, let’s just consider the question — would a population of 15% of 100,000 people be a problem for a space colony?
According to some some calculations a population of 20 generations could be maintained with as little as 80 – 160 people while others suggest a population of 10,000 – 40,000 people would maintain nearly 100% generic diversity.
15% of our 100,000 constitution adopters is 15,000 people – and if we consider that Asgardia has 300,000~ members in total, 15% of that would represent 45,000 females which is more than enough to completely repopulate the human race.
(A woman traveling in a foreign land. Photograph via Unsplash)
So looking at the question from multiple angles, we can see that the 15% female population doesn’t really represent a problem to Asgardia – but there are definitely some areas that we should keep in mind.
with only 15% of the population that signed the constitution female, it means that there is a danger that women will be poorly represented by the nation and that the needs of women in general might go unheard.
There are issue that might not be addressed — such as women’s rights, equality, government subsidised sanitary products, abortions and specialist health care.
We’re fortunate that some of the top members of our administration and community are women such as Lena De Winne and Rebekah Berg. This shows that Asgardia is serious about being a progressive nation and making sure that women have strong representation.
(With 15,000 women, we can colonise the moon! Photograph via Unsplash)