In our first space age, we watched as buff-bodied astronauts and can-do men in mission control got us to the moon and back, while space exploration remained an impossible dream for women. Before affirmative action policies, the few women who managed to find positions in the aerospace industry faced formidable and unrelenting workplace challenges. Before STEM education efforts, there were few opportunities and little or no encouragement for girls who yearned to someday explore space.
Now, nearly half a century since humans left Earth orbit, a new space age has begun. How can we ensure that women play integral roles in current and future space exploration efforts worldwide, not only as high profile astronauts, cosmonauts, and taikonauts, but as skilled members of the global “village” it will take to make all of this happen?