Monday, April 12, 2010

Speaking of women in space ... China's new requirement is "married with children"

According to Time magazine, men chosen to lead China into outer space must meet near-impossible standards.

Chinese astronauts, sometimes referred to as taikonauts (a word crafted by the media combining the Chinese word for space, taikong, with the Latin, naut, meaning sailor), cannot suffer chronic sore throats or runny noses.

Additionally, potential space travelers cannot have food restrictions, strong regional accents, ringworm, cavities, or scars. They can also be disqualified for bad breath, body odor, and a snoring problem.

Women have two additional criteria: they must be wives and mothers.

The reasoning, according to Chinese officials, is that spaceflight could potentially harm women's fertility.

The Chinese requirement is contrary to a 2005 study in the International Journal of Impotence Research. According to this study, short-duration spaceflight - missions up to nine days - has no adverse effect of the reproductive abilities of either male or female astronauts.

Most women astronauts in the United States and other countries don't have children because they delay getting pregnant due to unpredictable flight schedules and rigorous physical training.

Yet, Cai Yiping, executive director of Isis International says, "Chinese women are defined by their maternity. The perfect woman should be married with a child. Preferably a son, but I don't know if the space program has put that in their requirements yet."


  1. Please tell me I'm not the only one seeing a tiny little conflict between this maternity requirement and the one-child policy.

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