Adelaide, Australia: The International Astronautical Congress today hosted a breakfast meeting dedicated to the “First Woman on the Moon”. The topic is part of the 3G agenda of geography, gender and generation that IAF President, Dr Jean-Yves Le Gall, is promoting.
Of the 553 people that have travelled into space, a mere 60 have been women, 46 of whom were from the United States. This must change, said Steve Durst, Director of the International Lunar Observatory Association. Mr Durst said that women were a crucial part of any future lunar mission. “The first woman on the moon should be just as historic as the first man on the moon.” he said. “To be a multi world civilization we must ensure gender equality.”
The European Space Agency (ESA) is also promoting gender equality. ESA Head, Professor Jan Woerner, said that women would take a central role in any future moonbase. ESA is promoting the concept of a ‘moon village’, with a possible location at the lunar south pole. Mr Woerner said that the very nature of a moon village requires gender diversity. He said that it could be anyone. “Earth is a perfect spaceship, we are all astronauts.” he said.
Former astronaut and veteran of space, Dr Sandy Magnus, says that gender diversity makes industry stronger. “Each person’s reality is slightly different.” she said. Ms Magnus, Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, says that working with people with different personality and gender types is a good thing.
“Using multiple networks with different people helps you get out of the box – it gives you a new perspective” she said. “The first person should be the best person, regardless of gender.”
Magnus also related a story of how many years ago some NASA officials toyed with the idea of an all female space shuttle flight. “The entire astronaut core rejected the proposal; the women most of all” she said. “It was just a gimmick idea. Women are smart enough and strong enough to win selection on their own merits” she said.