Our Grade 5 students are currently exploring ‘How the World Works’ with a focus on Space. For the “World’s Largest Lesson”, the students have been thinking about the issue of Gender Inequality and how that relates to Astronomers and Astrophysicists.
We first explored the involvement of women as Astronomers throughout history. As early as the mid 1700’s, we discovered that a handful of women were making a significant contribution to the field of astronomy. We also connected this to the fact they did not marry and have children. We realized that they were not given the same status as the men they worked with. Nor were they given full recognition for their discoveries.
Shifting to the present, we explored how half of NASA’s newest Astronaut Class are women, how that ratio has changed over the years and possible reasons for this change.
We also discussed ideas connected to the death of women in Astrophysics and possible solutions to this problem.
Here are some quotes from our Grade 5 students:
“Women are finally equally righted and have a chance to go to Mars.” Conrad
“Women should have the right to go outside and do whatever they want exactly like a man’. Lihi
“I wouldn’t want to be a girl in 1978 if I wanted to be an astronaut.” Jano
“Sometimes a man’s win leads to a women’s loss and sometimes a woman’s win leads to a man’s loss”. Riya
text & photos: Margaret Burch