All-Woman Spacewalk Sends Galactic Encouragement to Girls with Dreams

Space exploration is one of my passions—all the way back to when I was a boy in hot and dusty summertime Oklahoma, imagining that my bicycle was a rocket ship.

My undergraduate degree is in aerospace/mechanical engineering. While my career as innovation and venture capital took a different trajectory, I remain super interested in NASA missions and everything having to do with the space from the shuttle, to satellites, to the moon and Mars.

I remember when Sally Ride became the first American woman in space on the Challenger in 1983. It was a big deal then; it is a big deal now. I thought about Ride’s historic journey last week when NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch completed their own history-making milestone, the first spacewalk with an all-woman crew.

Since the space program began, there have been hundreds of women in NASA and related industries—scientists, engineers, and astronauts. Women have been doing spacewalks for 35 years. But having an all-woman crew sends an additional and very important message.

It is an example to grade school girls who are riding their bikes pretending they are rocket ships, or for young women battling their way toward engineering and physics degrees, or for women scientists who aspire to create companies from their research. The seven hours that Meir and Koch spent outside the International Space Station, two women astronauts with tools in hand, is a milestone of encouragement and confidence.

Role models matter. STEM education matters. Diversity and inclusion matter in space, in entrepreneurship, and everywhere else.