What should have been a giant leap for women has turned into a stumbling block on the path of equality
By Sonia Elks
LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) – What should have been a giant leap for women turned into a stumbling block on the road to equality after the US space agency NASA canceled the first female female walk because of a lack of space suit right size.
Anne McClain and Christina Koch were to enter a history book on a space walk on Friday during the last week of Women's History Month.
But McClain will now give up his place on the mission to his colleague Nick Hague, NASA said on Monday.
"Mission managers have decided to adjust the tasks, in part because of the availability of space clothing at the station," NASA said in a statement.
"McClain learned during his first spacewalk that a mid-size upper trunk – essentially the space suit shirt – fits best. Since only a medium-sized torso can be prepared on Friday, March 29, Koch will use."
Nearly 60 years after the first human being launched into space, less than 11% of the 500 people who have ever traveled to space were women, and the spacewalkers were either male or male.
McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 NASA class that was 50% female.
NASA said the decision to change the plan was made in consultation with McClain after a walk in space last week.
"Anne trained in M and L and thought she could use a big but determined after Friday's walk, a better way," spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz wrote on Twitter.
"In this case, it's easier (and faster!) To change the spacers than to reconfigure the space suit."
NASA's announcement was met with disappointment and anger by many after the long-awaited social media mission, with some arguing that an exclusively female spacewalk was delayed.
Others said they were sad that a moment of women's space exploration had been postponed, but security came first.
"I am very disappointed that the women's walk did not happen as planned on Friday but I am also very much in favor of astronauts having the authority to say" I would be safer using a different equipment, "he wrote Emily Lakdawalla, a senior editor of the US nonprofit Planetary Society.
"A women's space walk will happen."
(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights and LGBT +, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. http: /news.trust.org)
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