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Women of Nasa


The Week in Women: LEGO meets NASA, Uber’s PR nightmare, and a historic appointment at Harvard

March 3, 2017

This week’s news roundup is all about women at the top of their game (plus one dude at the very bottom), because one should always be a leader, not a follower. Unless one is following the smell of melted cheese into a local pizza shop. But we digress. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

ImeIme Umana, a 24-year-old Harvard Law student, was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, one of the most prestigious legal journals in the world. She is the first black woman to hold the title in the publication’s 130-year history. Though presidents of the Harvard Law Review are effectively guaranteed their pick of jobs, Umana is not interested in high-paying sectors of the legal realm. She told The New York Times that after graduating, she hopes to become a public defender, so she can help “young black women who will never be anywhere near such an amount of privilege.”

A group of Democratic congresswomen wore white to Donald Trump’s joint address to Congress this week as a nod to the suffragette movement, which encouraged its supporters to dress in white as a symbol of purity. “We wear white to unite against any attempts by the Trump Administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century,” Lois Frankel, a Democratic representative from Florida, said. On Wednesday, Republic representative Kevin Cramer gave a thoughtful, nuanced response to this show of solidarity by saying that the group looked “weird.” And because sexism is bipartisan, first lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump also faced criticism for their respective choices of outfit (too much sparkle, too much skin, whatever). Because why care what women do or say when we can focus on their clothes instead?

Amit Singhal, Uber’s newly-appointed senior vice president of engineering, was forced to resign after failing to tell his new employer about sexual harassment claims that allegedly led to his resignation from Google in early 2016. Although Uber carried out an extensive background check, it reportedly was unaware of the circumstances surrounding Singhal’s departure from Google. The news of Singhal’s ouster came as the company was already scrambling to deal with claims by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who said she faced retaliation from the company after reporting her manager for inappropriate sexual conduct. Uber? A problematic work culture? You could knock us over with a feather.

LEGO will release a set of figurines based on five pioneering women of NASA: computer scientist and engineer Margaret Hamilton, mathematician Katherine Johnson, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, and astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison. The figurines, designed by science writer Maria Weinstock, received 10,000 votes on a forum that allows fans to submit original ideas, and were subsequently approved by LEGO’s review board. “I hope [the toy] sets a new example for both girls and boys,” Weinstock said. Is it weird for adults to, say, purchase a LEGO set for their own personal enjoyment? Asking for a friend.