A salute to Sally Ride

Gloria Steinem wrote:

No one on earth — or in space — could have created a more complete heroine than Sally Ride.

She came from a family of strong and barrier-breaking women — a mother who devoted her life to working with women in prison and a sister who was a pioneering minister.

She was a physicist and astrophysicist when she answered a classified ad to become an astronaut — and also an English major, a Shakespeare scholar and a tennis champion.

She survived with good grace a global barrage as the first American woman in space, including endless jokes about everything from menstruation to bathroom privacy.

She reminded reporters that women had qualified to be astronauts in the very first class, but had been ruled out only because they were women.

She was always mindful of being a role model for little girls with big dreams. She was more likely to spend time with Girl Scouts than with celebrity interviews, and she wrote a half dozen science books for children.

She was kind towards people around her. She greeted challenges not with fear or competitiveness but with joy at doing the thing itself.

I am very lucky that our paths crossed. If we let her keep on inspiring us, then Sally Ride is with us still.

Sally Ride was the first American woman and the youngest astronaut to fly in space. She encouraged girls to dream. Gloria Steinem said, “Millions of little girls are going to sit by their television sets and see they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists.” We should not forget that in a male dominated astronaut community, Sally Ride often felt uncomfortable when she was asked to tell the details of her menstrual cycle and how that might affect her time in space, whether she would wear a bra or makeup and whether she would cry on the job.

Those days are not yet gone. Those days will be gone if equal number of men and women become scientists, physicists, astronauts, heroes, explorers, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, technical experts, pilots,doctors, as well as writers, artists, historians, academics, administrators, politicians, decision makers etc. If it happens, we will know that there is no space in society for sexism, and no space is completely male dominated.


  1. Cuttlefish says

    Sally Ride was an incredible human being. To run the race she did, with sexism’s weights chained to her ankles, shows her amazing strength.

    She was not the only, or even the first, woman in the astronaut program. Imagine what might have been, if only we saw people as people, not women as women and men as men.

  2. Steinmaster says

    Careers in science are only open to a very small elite per centage of the population.

    Encouraging young children who are less that the very brightest of the bright that they will have such careers is cruel.

    And Science itself has provided the means to destroy civilization in an afternoon, while Scientists act like they have no moral complicity.

  3. Andrew says


    Everyone has he right to their life, without having to subject themselves to tyranny. When the preponderance of people recognize this we will have won.
    That said she was a very brave woman.
    I hope to be that strong, I am trying.
    Please continue to provide inspiration.
    Best regards A.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *