Foreign Policy Digital

A Place for Women in Space

A lack of medium-sized spacesuits highlights women’s needs in the workplace.

On March 25, NASA announced that a historic all-female spacewalk on the International Space Station was cancelled, not for lack of personnel but for lack of clothing. Only one medium-sized spacesuit was available at the station. The astronaut Anne McClain was thus swapped for her colleague Nick Hague, who joined Christina Koch on the mission. The decision, though taken at McClain’s own recommendation as a safety precaution, highlighted a broader, pervasive issue: As long as that world remains built for men, women remain at a constant disadvantage.

“Even as female astronaut candidates prove their competence and ability, and as spacesuits and other equipment [are] adapted for them, they are still working in the context of a legacy that has been predominantly male,” said Shawna Pandya, a Canadian physician and citizen-scientist astronaut candidate. “We are thus working in a

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