Claudie Henery, the first French woman in space, encourages women to set off on an adventure

Some models especially welcome Monday, March 8, International Women’s Rights Day, especially in the dark context of the Covid-19 pandemic. If this date is an opportunity to remind you of the inequalities, wage gaps and gender-based violence that persist in our societies – and have been reinforced by the pandemic – then time is also intended to mobilize for further progress.

And while there is still a lot of progress to be made on Earth, one area is not immune to inequality between men and women: the space domain. To talk about it, Euronews spoke with a woman who managed, through hard work and effort, to break a glass ceiling, in the stars, to become the first European to go into space: Claude Hatade.

In August 1996, after years of preparation, the rheumatologist and physician in neurology participated in her first space mission, Cassiopeia, and joined the Russian station Mir. An unforgettable 16-day space flight, historic for women. At the time, Claude Henery said there was only one ”10 percent of women Among the candidates, during the harsh selection process that took place 11 years ago, in 1985. “I was fortunate to be the woman chosen from among the group of seven astronauts at that time.She says on the Euronews website.

By comparison, in 2008, during the last European Space Agency selection process, which Frenchman Thomas Pesquet came from – and only seven candidates passed the finish line, out of more than 8,000 candidates –“The percentage of female candidates was 15%.”, She answers. So, in reality, we didn’t move much between 1985 and 2008. But the selection that ESA launches today will start at the end of March.. And one of the goals is to increase this diversity in order to get a slightly more balanced mix, which will take us to about a third of the appointed astronauts. ” _

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‘Dare to advance’

This means it is necessary “More young women candidates”, Claudie Hayneri adds. “This means that we must also mobilize young women in these science and engineering careers, whether they are in space or other fields.” Confirm, where “There is a shortage of female talent.” Therefore, mobilization depends on the clarity of this recruitment drive, but also on the voice of female role models in order to raise awareness among the youngest. Because also in college and high schools, coursework is often banned by clichés leading to girls being underrepresented in scientific training and in science careers afterwards.

And the Even if places are expensive for several thousand anticipated requests, Claudie Henery wants to encourage women to apply. Profile sought? Holds a master’s degree in a scientific field and three years of professional experience. The age limit has been pushed back to 50 years. Therefore, Claude Henery has a message for women who meet these criteria:“__ Dare to advance, dare to seize this opportunity presented to you, because the doors are open. If you have this dream, this desire, this desire to participate in this adventure, you must dare to go there. Everything is ready or not. We are not. We are looking for perfect beings, not looking for superheroes and superheroes, but to embark on a path. And in any case, we will grow on this path, “ Claudie Henery concludes his speech.

Find Claude Henery’s full Euronews interview in the video above.

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