In the picture is Kristine Davis, spacesuit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, wearing a prototype of NASA’s latest spacesuit, which was unveiled on 15 October this year.

Photo: NASA
04-12-19 DI Business News

Too few women in space

500 men have been in space as test pilots, astronauts, specialists or tourists. For women, the number is 59, of which 46 have been American. Gender equality should also apply to space, says DI.

The first woman in space was Russian Valentina Tereshkova. In 1963, she orbited Earth 48 times on a three-day solo mission.

Between then and the end of 2017, 59 other women have likewise left Earth on a spaceship. 46 of them have been American. 500 men have been in space as test pilots, astronauts, specialists or tourists, shows a report from the European Space Agency (ESA)

“The predominance of men in space also applies to roles such as engineers, managers and researchers. It’s a pity, but unfortunately it has to do with the fact that women are underrepresented in STEM subjects in general,” says Mette Fjord Sørensen, Head of Research, Diversity and Higher Education at the Confederation of Danish Industry.

See also:DKK 53 million to bring talent to Denmark

Women set space record

Meanwhile, she notes that this is an issue that is very much in focus in the space industry, and indeed, more women are making headlines.

“Right now, Jessica U. Meir, astronaut with a Master’s degree in space studies and a doctorate in marine biology, and her colleague Christine H. Koch are on a mission to the international space station ISS. Christina H. Koch is expected to set the record for the longest solo space expedition for a woman, spending a total of 328 days in space,” says Mette Fjord Sørensen.

She hopes that public interest in space can help attract more women to STEM subjects.

“My youngest daughter, who is seven, wants to be an astronaut. That’s really encouraging. I think the fact that the combination of natural sciences and space research can really make a difference in the world can help us get more girls and women into both,” says Mette Fjord Sørensen.

See also: New director of DI’s international department

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Mette Fjord Sørensen

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