Oh My Stars! The Astronomically Appalling Treatment of Astro and Aero Women


Women have been treated poorly and underrepresented in STEM fields for a very long time. However, even as many fields – including biology and medicine – grow into more diverse communities, others are far behind, including the astro/aero- fields. Most significantly, there are numerous occasions of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace – these inappropriate occurrences lead to fewer women wanting to pursue careers in this field and can interrupt field and lab work as well as influence future participation in this field. Fewer women in the field means fewer female representation and fewer female voices which inhibits progress and innovation on a larger scale – it’s incredibly important to have all sides of the story. High levels of sexual harassment discourage women from continuing to pursue careers in astro/aero-fields. The overwhelming majority of institutions do not aid women and many do not attempt to fix the sexual harassment and assault problem. Studies show that “women are consistently underrepresented on NASA's planetary science spacecraft teams” (Kaplan), their research is cited 10% less often than men (Kaplan), and about 70% of women experienced sexual harassment, most often from their supervisors (Sexual Harassment).



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