After reading Almost Astronauts 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone, I felt myself wanting to know more about these daring pioneers of the 1960's. In the book I discovered so much about the women in space program, but even more about the inequality encountered by these women while pursuing their dreams.
As a young girl growing up in the fifties, sixties and seventies, I now realize I was unaware of so many things. It's hard to believe that in 1961 a woman could not rent a car or acquire a loan from a bank without the signature of a man. Or that a woman could not become a jet pilot or a commercial pilot even though she met all of the qualifications of her male counterparts. When I was growing up, my father encouraged his four daughters to do whatever we dreamed- that we should aspire to be whatever we wanted. In 1970 he approved of my application to a college that had been previously open to only male students. With the acceptance of my class, women would be permitted to live and study on campus along with their male peers. Today, 40 years later, women make up over half of the school's enrollment. Although I became a teacher (a career chosen by many admirable women), one of my sisters entered the male dominated field of metallurgical engineering and found success. My own daughters have pursued careers in science and math, and I am happy to say one is now a chemical engineer, one an accountant, and one is an architect.
Not only did Almost Astronauts 13 Women Who Dared to Dream provide an interesting and enlightening story but also made me think about the equality of women today and how so many pioneers have paved the way for our present experience.
If you have the opportunity to read this book it will provide insight into more than the careers of women in space. It will make you wonder, what is truly a woman's place?