Connecting Sociology and YOU!

ACTION : 9.1.2 “Excuse me, but this space suit doesn’t fit!”

It is Women’s History month, and NASA has cancelled the first all women spacewalk.  Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were scheduled to make this monumental step, but unfortunately, mission control did not include the right gear for the mission, a size medium space suit.  While this may have been an honest mistake, some contend it speaks to the broader range of issues women face on the job.  According to the American Association of University Women, women earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Over the course of a 47-year career, that means women lose between $700,000 and $2 million dollars depending on her educational level. For many women, the wage gap is closely tied to their experience as a pink-collar worker, an individual who works in women dominated jobs with low pay. Pink-collar jobs include occupations such as nurses, teachers and social workers.  Women’s concentration in pink-collar occupations is impacted by society’s views on gender norms, behaviors or traits that society attributes to a particular sex. These gender norms go beyond the behavior of any particular woman, but are the result of long-term gender stratification, the unequal access and distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between women and men. In the last fifty years, efforts have been made to push women beyond pink-collar occupations and into opportunities like astronauts. Of particular importance to this has been affirmative action, policies designed to promote educational and job opportunities for minorities and women and Title IX, the prohibition against discrimination in federally funded education, and the rise of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the educational system.

This blog post is provided by the co-authors of SociologicalYOU (Fourth Edition), a digital NextGen Introductory Sociology textbook engaging students in critical thinking to “Connect Sociology and YOU!” For more information, contact