Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

Good news first! this book shows you how much women at JPL struggled at the time. You can translate the problems at JPL to any other organisation. Why is that good news? Well, if there is a single soul left thinking sexism doesn’t exist, it should be pretty clear after reading the book. I enjoyed every word of this book, it has a nice flow.

There are, of course, drawbacks to the author’s style. Let’s start with the title. I would like to see the word ‘women’ there, but perhaps it is not as catchy as ‘girls’. ‘Girls’ is a one syllable word after all, easy to remember(?). The book is written like it is work of fiction. Although I found this quite charming, I imagine it will disappoint some. Because it is also this style that downplays the sexism, or the success of women at JPL achieved by caring and supporting each other. Ok, not exactly downplays it, but… how to say it… It doesn’t make it the main course which you stare at a dinner party more than half the time. It is rather the desert you serve with a nice glass of wine. You get the enjoy the looks of the desert, you taste it and then you start talking about it. That’s when all the flavour comes out. You have to think about the events to see the struggle. To see how women had been and still are treated.

My recommendation is that do not read this book like it is a manifesto. Do not expect to find heated arguments against sexism. Instead, look and see how women survived in a world ready to fry them. They may not had rallies, or boiling arguments but what these women had done is also needed for us to get the rights we deserve. It is a quiet revolution, not a bloody one and so is the book.


Genre: Biography, Feminism, History, Non-fiction