NASA will make headlines on March 29, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina H. Koch make the first ever female-only space walk from the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Expedition 59. The space walk, expected to last about six hours and 30 minutes during which the pair will be replacing power channel batteries, is the second of three for the ISS team set for the end of the month.
Without a doubt, this is a huge deal for women working in science, engineering, aeronautics and other STEM fields.
According to statistics, aeronautics has historically been a male-dominated field.
Valentina Tereshkova earned the title of first woman in space, in 1963, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that Sally Ride became America’s first woman in space, in 1983.
A quarter way through 2019, a year when gender equality in the workplace has become an increasingly spoken mantra, these statistics seem shocking. And, yet, are they?
The simple answer is: Not really.
However, today, NASA is making strides to attract women, labeling them as “The Next Generation of Explorers.” Of the 12 members of NASA’s newest class, 5 of them are women. Of its previous class, four of its eight members are women — including McClain and Koch.
As these two astronauts take one small step for women, let’s hope it’s one giant leap for us all.