Women in Space Science


A recent survey has revealed astonishing discrimination in space science.
HireHer is a company that was founded with many women in mind. HireHer was founded for the female graduate who isn’t sure why her male classmate got twice the job offers she did. It was founded for the woman who finds herself left out of the ‘boys club’ that is her company’s culture. It was founded for those seeking mentors; for those looking to guide; and for the young girls dreaming of their futures that deserve a more equitable workplace.
HireHer was also founded because of the ambitions and challenges of a single woman – Elizabeth “Lynne” Chandler, sister of Founder Ruth Chandler Cook. As a NASA mathematician and engineer, Lynne was instrumental in the successful launch and orbiting of the Hubble Space Telescope. Space science would not be where it is today without her drive, intelligence, and success. Our understanding of the universe stems in part from Lynne’s accomplishments.
A new survey of women in space science found that forty percent of women of color felt unsafe in their workplace because of harassment about their gender. Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/07/11/women-of-color-face-staggering-harassment-in-space-science/?utm_term=.e9c6adc82e50.
The figure is staggering and speaks to a toxic work culture in this field. Lynne, a brilliant woman of color, regularly lamented in conversations with Ruth that she faced incredible discrimination during her time at NASA – and these figures suggest the situation has not improved. Today, women still face incredible burdens at work.
Out of over 400 survey participants, 90 percent had witnessed sexist or racist remarks made in their workplace. The statistic means that nearly every one of these scientists had seen some sort of cruel, discriminatory behavior at work.
Our goal is to get more women into top jobs in STEM+. But our job cannot end there. While women, and particularly women of color, still experience this treatment, more progress must be made. We must all work together to ensure appropriate behavior at work so that space science remains a field that women actually want to enter. All women deserve to reach for the stars – and their success must not be impeded by sexism or discrimination at work.

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