August 6, 2019

To Make It to the Moon, Women Have to Escape Earth’s Gender Bias

By Mary Robinette Kowal

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA has started Artemis, a program that aims “to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024, including the first woman and the next man.”

Although both astronauts have enormous challenges ahead, the first woman will face added hurdles simply because everything in space carries the legacy of Apollo. It was designed by men, for men.

Not deliberately for men, perhaps, but women were not allowed in the astronaut program until the late 1970s, and none flew until Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, in 1983. By this point, the space program was built around male bodies.