AE Fellow Christina Ayoe Toldbo sets up a test camera to perform 3-D reconstruction of the artificial lunar surface using passive methods. She is studying navigation methodologies for autonomous space navigation while working on her aerospace engineering Ph.D. at the Technical University of Denmark.

Zonta supports women in space science and technology

Zonta International joins the United Nations in celebrating World Space Week, which recognizes the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.

World Space Week begins on 4 October—the date in 1957 when the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched into outer space—and ends on 10 October—the date in 1967 when the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies was entered into force.

"Space science and technology are essential to advancing our society, and women should have equal opportunities as men to be part of this vital and exciting field," said Zonta International President Sharon Langenbeck. "That is why Zonta International is a longtime supporter of women in aerospace and has awarded nearly 1,700 Amelia Earhart Fellowships since the program began in 1938."

Langenbeck, a 1977 and 1978 Amelia Earhart (AE) Fellow, had a long career as a mechanical and aerospace engineer before becoming Zonta's president.

Established in honor of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart, the AE Fellowship is awarded annually to up to 35 women pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and space sciences. Zonta has contributed more than US$11 million to the education of 1,245 women in the aerospace field.

Though progress has been made since 1938, women still make up just around 25% of the global workforce in the aerospace industry.

"I think many women doubt their own skills and find it challenging to follow the path of research. Recognitions like the Zonta International Amelia Earhart fellowship are a contributing factor to continuing the hard work and show by example that women bring diversity, empathy, knowledge, perspective and passion to the field," said 2021 AE Fellow Christina Ayoe Toldbo. "I hope that one day it is assumed that a rocket scientist might just as well be a woman as a man. If the academic world opens up to different ways of working and starts to value different skillsets and talents than what tradition dictates, more women (and men) will thrive."

Zonta International will continue to advocate for women space scientists and engineers through the AE Fellowship. We are currently accepting applications for the 2022 Amelia Earhart Fellowship, which are due on 15 November. Learn more and apply at

7 OCTOBER 2021