A disclaimer: I am not particularly interested in what happens in space. I am a grassroots type of a woman with strong views against projects like the Square kilometre Array (SKA), which, in my mind, divert, in the midst of economies collapsing, funds that could be used to improve lives of the ordinary women and men, deprived of living a life of dignity; a life where one can walk tall and just be.
Disclaimer aside, today being Human Rights Day, I thought I should allow myself to drift a bit into space. Not so much to have a holiday from grassroots matters, but to just take time to note the transcending nature of sexism that goes beyond our planet right into space.
Two days ago, this link was forwarded to me about some British woman, Kate Arkless Gray’s fight to go into space. Central to her fight is a disturbing advert that she challenges, which actually suggests that only men can qualify in a competition to go into space. One may argue, once they have read the article or seen the advert, that the company behind the competition had no (malicious) intentions to exclude women–given their product is male-specific. But surely someone in their midst should have detected (blatant) sexism just in the language used to lure the would-be entrants of the competition: “Lynx is scouring the world to recruit a few brave men for the opportunity of a lifetime”. An opportunity where you, “Leave a man, return a hero.”
I mean really?! Can we believe whatever explanation that this company is willing to offer? What about the actual content of advert itself? In 2013, couldn’t they spend more of their money to find creative people capable of promoting different views to masculinity and femininity?
In my non-humble opinion, to believe this company is to accept that not even the sky is the limit for sexism. For this reason, I offer my solidarity to all women who have entered the competition and hope they get voted into space.
Now speaking generally (to all humanity), may we be granted the space to be. May we each recognise that we need this space to self-actualise and live a life of dignity. As such, moving beyond Human Rights day, may we embrace the right to space as a human right—a basic and fundamental right to be.