Women in Space: From Historical Trend to Future Forecasts

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Sheela Duggirala
Hyacinthe Aboudja
Venkata Jaipal Batthula
Michael Howell
Richard S. Segall
Peng-Hung Tsai
Daniel Berleant


In the history of space exploration, the gender balance has tended to favor men. However, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields have increasingly had women represented. This trend is often encouraged nowadays as openness to gender diversity in technology has been realized to be beneficial to the overall level of expertise in the fields, to the economy, and to those wishing to be part of these fields. Astronautics, the occupation charged with the direct human exploration of outer space forms an interesting case study.

Our study shows that the percentage of women throughout the world in the astronautics field and thus involved in space exploration has increased over time. This article explores the contribution of women as astronauts in terms of the percentages of astronauts that are women, the historical trend of increase in these percentages, and the extrapolation of the historical trend to provide foresight into future percentages. We are able to project, assuming the historical trend continues, the possible future increases in percentages of female astronauts worldwide.

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Engineering Science