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Sally Ride: A Feminist Hero and the First American Woman in Space

Over 36 years ago, Dr. Sally Ride became America’s first woman in space. She simply answered a newspaper article with a handwritten note to NASA. She was ultimately accepted by NASA and became a figurehead in improving science education all over America, even years after her death. She joined NASA just as they were starting to allow more women around. However, the world wasn’t ready to be as progressive when it came to women physicists.


Photo by Granger / Shutterstock

Her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, told Business Insider about the sexism Sally had to deal with, including questioning from the media. However, she wasn’t going to let anything stop her; Ride’s motto was “stereotypes be damned.” Even though she didn’t necessarily enjoy public attention, Sally was determined to use her platform to help and educate others. Unfortunately, she died of cancer in 2012, before she publically announced that she was in a relationship with a woman. Her partner of 27 years revealed the truth after her death.