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Femme Friday: LEGO my feminism! Women of NASA snap together, finally.

WOMEN OF NASA LEGO SET

The set comes in a display case!

While LEGO is probably the least misogynistic toy a child can own it still has a few leaps to make. A few? This week LEGO has finally recognized another service they have lacked for femme empowerment.

Lego announced the WOMEN OF NASA set. I feel both empowered and disappointed. Kind of like when DC finally decided to make that Wonder Woman movie we’ve all been standing around thinking, “hey… but what about Diana Prince” since Hollywood rebooted ANT MAN. ANT MAN? Seriously, guys? You did ANT MAN before WONDER WOMAN? Thanks. Wow, I feel better already.

In her project proposal, Maia Weinstock was clear in the project’s intent to  celebrate “five notable NASA pioneers and provides an educational building experience to help young ones and adults alike learn about the history of women in STEM.” You will note that many, if not all, of these women continue to be an advocate for women in STEM.

Those five women are:

Nancy Grace Roman

Astronomer: The “Mother of Hubble” is included in this set and was one of the first female executives at NASA. The Roman Technology Fellowship in Astrophysics. She was instrumental in developing space based astronomical instrumentation. She’s ninety-one as of this writing and that means she was one of our Femme Warriors who had to fight for every little step she took in a field that was dominated by men, in a time that discouraged women from having careers. She said in an interview for VOA, “One of the reasons I like working with schools is to try to convince women that they can be scientists and that science can be fun,” she says.

 

Margaret Hamilton, née Heafield

Margaret Hamilton

Computer scientist: Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. She is a pioneer in the modern concept of software. She was discovered while at MIT through the Whirlwind , a project developed to predict the weather. By outsmarting a smarmy male scientist who wrote everything in Greek and Latin, she wrote all her answers in the same language.  Apparently, NASA likes a smartass because it got her the job as  lead developer for Apollo flight software.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Mathematician and astronavigator: Yes, that Katherine Johnson who was recently featured in the movie Hidden Figures doing the maths for the Mercury and Apollo programs — including the Apollo 11 the first lunar landing.  Let me tell you a little thing about Katherine Johnson… she was a child math prodigy. And in Greenbrier West Virginia when she was a youngster, the didn’t have a school for African Americans past eighth grade. She would have been wasted if not for a program at West Virginia College that admitted her at the tender age of ten years old. Holy cats, that’s a SUPER FEMME! It took a United States Supreme Court (Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938)) ruling to allow her to even go to college. Take that Betsy DeVos. Totally nuts.

Sally Ride and Mae Jamisen

  Sally Ride 

Astronaut, physicist, and educator: A physicist by training, Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983 but, her sex aside, she’s also the youngest astronaut to travel to space as of this writing. After retiring as a NASA astronaut, she founded an educational company focusing on encouraging children — especially girls — to pursue the sciences.  In 2014, Ride was installed in the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display that celebrates the achievements of the LGBT community. She and her partner Tama O’Shaunessey wrote six acclaimed children’s science books together.  Ride succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2012.

Jemison’s face on the stamp of Azeri

  Mae Jemison

Astronaut, physician, engineer: Trained as a medical doctor, served in the Peace Corps, and all around awesome femme, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space in 1992 aboard the Endeavour space shuttle. Since her retirement from NASA  she’s been busy running a company which develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences. Oh yeah… she once appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation, too. Her inspiration? Uhura. Thank you, Nichelle.

 

 

Follow these social links to learn more about the Lego set itself.

 

Photos sourced from Lego and Wikipedia.

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