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Concerns about sexism in the aerospace industry land at SpaceX

The front of the SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California. (credit: Megan Geuss)

In late September, a former communications executive at Blue Origin and 20 other current and former employees raised concerns about the culture at the company, highlighting issues such as sexism in the workplace. Writing on the Lioness website, Alexandra Abrams and the unnamed employees wrote that Blue Origin “turns a blind eye toward sexism.”

The essay ignited a wildfire of criticism about the working environment of Blue Origin, even extending to concerns about the safety of the company’s vehicles. In the wake of the essay’s publication, the Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation of these safety allegations.

Now the conflagration has spread to SpaceX. On Tuesday, Lioness published another essay by Ashley Kosak, a former Mission Integration Engineer at SpaceX. This essay has fewer anonymous co-signers (only two) and is more tightly focused on sexism rather than the company’s broader culture. But in regard to harassment, its allegations are no less worrisome. Kosak writes about multiple occasions of feeling sexually harassed and her belief that SpaceX’s management did not do enough to intervene.

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