Giant Leaps for Womankind

by Carlee Malone ‘20

More and more women make history every day, accomplishing incredible feats only previously achieved by men. Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are among these revolutionary women who have overcome incredible gender barriers to become role-models for girls worldwide, completing the first all-female spacewalk–any journey or mission performed outside of the spacecraft–on October 18th, nearly 55 years after the world’s first in 1965. Koch and Meir’s mission, though a seemingly trivial battery replacement for the International Space Station’s solar-power system, carried much heavier significance, as both women recognize. They made history.

Recently, many institutions have been promoting female involvement in STEM, attempting to diversify and open up a previously heavily male-dominated field. Though many argue that women simply do not pursue these careers naturally, thus accounting for the extreme lack of women in STEM fields in the past, it is likely due to something bigger: a lack of representation of female figures in these typically male-dominated fields. Young girls require successful, strong women to be role-models in a wide diversity of environments. Having female figures beyond teachers, moms, or veterinarians to admire can be critical in helping young women envision themselves on a broader quantity of paths and help plant, early on, seeds of considerable drive and ambition to assume non-traditional roles in society.