Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lady Astronauts

Just because American astronaut and physicist Sally Ride has been in news and blogs a lot after she passed away, I'd like to bring your attention to a book I reviewed a few years ago about The Mercury 13. 

In it, Martha Ackmann recounts the thirteen female pilots who, in 1959, underwent much of the same astronaut testing that was done on male pilots, did very well in the testing, and in some aspects outperformed the men, only to have NASA shut down the testing because the leadership and politicians saw no point in allowing women in space.

Testifying in support of the discriminatory status quo, astronaut John Glenn, who wasn't even aware of the testing, mansplained:
"I think this gets back to the way our social order is organized, really. It is just a fact. The men go off and fight the wars and fly the airplanes and come back and help design and build and test them. The fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order. It may be undesirable."
Because of stereotyped-based resistance such as this, Sally Ride, the first American woman to enter space, did not do so until 1983.

[La la la a bunch of empty space. I hate the new blogger interface!]

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