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What the NASA spatial controversy says about the working conditions of women everywhere


A The space suit may not seem like what most women take to work. But as the plans changed for a female space walk this week due to space sizing problems, many working women back to Earth saw something of their own experience in the headlines: share stories in line on the unsuitable uniforms, the design or the office of equipment centered on the men. Spaces equipped without taking into account your needs.

Through social media platforms, women talked about giant monkeys, shoe boots that were of the wrong size, over-sized gloves that did not make them more agile, missing bulletproof vests that took into account the size of chest and the lack of small personal protective equipment under construction. places.

"I work in an ambulance, where everything that happens, from the driver's seat to the bed's lint, is done for your average-sized man," tweets of a woman based in Canada. "I knew it intimately and I felt a rage of experiential empathy in my stomach when I learned of this cancellation of the space walk."

Other women make connections to office environments, such as lower indoor air temperatures (research has shown that women tend to have lower metabolic temperatures, making them feel colder at times office temperatures set for the middle man); or having to swim in bathing stalls instead of spaces designated for new mothers; or even the lack of conferences in professional events.

"I can almost hear the tired sighs of all women who have attended a scientific conference and have asked for a t-shirt that suits them," says a Twitter astrophysics.

The decision to change the spacewalk was, of course, more complex than was sometimes described, and an agency dependent on the financing of the Congress faces different obstacles than private entrepreneurs. The agency published Wednesday Wednesday explaining the decision, and the astronaut who withdrew from the lineup, Anne McClain, posted a Twitter message that "nothing was postponed or canceled," he wrote: "This decision was based on my recommendation. Leaders have to make difficult calls and I am lucky to work with a team that trusts my judgment."

To the questions and answers, NASA explained that McClain had trained in medium and large size suits before leaving to the space station and had planned to use the great one during the historical moment. But after a sporadic ride on March 22, he realized that the medium was the best in shape and he changed plans for security reasons and to avoid delays, NASA said. While another half-tile piece was on board, it would take at least 12 hours to set it for space.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz says that NASA takes more than 80 different body measurements before sizing astronaut suits, and has pointed out that there are many options for size, including eight adjustable elbows and 65 glue size options. He says that of the three astronauts of NASA on board, two are women and that all three come from NASA's first class of astronauts that was 50% of women, the 2013 class.

NASA Astronaut Christina Koch helps fellow astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain In his American space suits shortly before starting the first space ride of his races (EPA)

"We believe we have the best teams, making the best decisions they can to achieve the mission's goals in a way that mitigates risk as much as possible," says Schierholz, who adds that he believes that a female space exit is "inevitable".

Even some observers who said they understood the nuances of the decision shared the knowledge of history. A Twitter user said that I understood that the decision was more than a bias, but "it still gave me the same feeling of discomfort that every time a job did not have enough uniforms in stock and I got stuck in clothes three – plus too big ".

Several point to Invisible Women: Data Bias in a world designed for men, A new book by feminist activist Caroline Criado Pérez. In it, it is detailed as a series of industries and fields, either by default, or do not incorporate enough data about women. For example, the most commonly used shock test mannequins are the size of an average man, farm equipment is also influenced by men's sizes, and small health and safety data is s & # 39; They have focused on women.

"My social networks have been completing this story and women who share stories that do not surprise me absolutely," says Criado Pérez. "It is a real question and with women saying:" This is how it manifested in my field ", it is impossible to destroy it."

Abby Ferri, who leads a women-centered group and security in the American Society of security professionals, shared the article on LinkedIn. As a person who works in insurance programs for construction companies, he says that he knows about women every day using adhesive tape on the top of his gloves or add it to the bottom of the bag. With short but short women, he says, "a businessman can throw a 2XXL outfit" to make them fit better.

They say that women in the construction industry often say nothing because they do not want to draw attention to a job where they are already rare, so that only poorly adjusted equipment will take them and their modifications will be made. Another challenge, according to her, comes from manufacturers, who sometimes have minimal amounts to request small-sized equipment that entrepreneurs do not want to accommodate themselves in an industry where women represent less than 10 percent of workforce.

The attention that NASA's story has contributed to the topic, unfortunately, could help light up a real problem in other fields, says: "Perhaps instances like this help raise the problem. It's something that happens everywhere. "

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