Sunday, April 4, 2010

55: The Self-Empowered Woman: Discovery's Women

Dear Followers,

As those of you who read the Epilogue in The Self-Empowered Woman (which you can find on know, five decades ago I wrote to NASA because I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. The reply I received (which I wish I'd kept) informed me that girls couldn't be astronauts.

Tomorrow, however, outer space will experience what some observers are calling "a female population explosion." Currently, one woman (Caldwell Dyson) is in a Russian capsule (a Soyuz rocket from the Kazakhstan) with two Russian men headed for a six month stay on the international space station. And early (6:21 AM) Monday morning three more women (and four men) will spend thirteen days in space.

Twenty-seven years ago Sally Ride became the first American female astronaut, and two of Monday's crew members (Naoko Yamazaki from Japan and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger) will become the 53rd and 54th women to fly in space. The Soviet Union's first "spacewoman" was Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. The third woman to enter space Monday morning is Stephanie Wilson, who will be making her third shuttle flight and, four years ago, became the second black woman in space.

In what would have been an unimaginable scenario only a few decades ago, Yamazaki's husband quit his job as a space station flight controller to help his wife's career and help care their seven year old daughter.

Looking forward to your comments...

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