When Hillary Clinton was rejected by NASA: 'We don't accept girls'

Hillary Clinton made history on Tuesday when she became the first woman in US history to win a White House nomination of a major political party. Securing the backing of Democrats at the Philadelphia convention certainly is a milestone in women's history.

But Hillary didn’t always have it easy in paving the way to history. This girl wanted to be an astronaut; NASA told her they didn't accept girls.

As she has often recalled, the words "We don’t take girls" has been etched in Clinton’s memories. Hillary fondly remembers her early teens as her ‘tomboy phase’. She also remembers writing a letter to NASA when she was around 13 years old, and getting a polite but disheartening refusal for it!

“My dream was to be an astronaut when I was about 13 or 14 years old and the United States was starting its space program. So I wrote a letter to the NASA space agency and asked how I could become an astronaut. And I got a letter back saying that they weren’t accepting women. Now, I have to be very honest with you. I could never have qualified. But it was a dream, and I have been thrilled to see young women follow that dream and do so with such skill,” she recalled in a town hall event at Ewha Womans University in Seoul in 2009.

Sceptics have been quick to dismiss this story whenever she spoke of it, but even The Washington Post's fact checker series has confirmed that letters of this nature were sent by NASA in those times. They may not have been as dismissive in their letters, often encouraging young aspirants to be prepared for a change in the space organisation’s status quo, but it remains a fact that NASA only witnessed its first class of female astronauts in 1978.

This memory hasn’t soured Clinton’s love for space. She has expressed her strong support for the organisation, even promising that she would reverse spending cuts imposed on NASA. Hillary’s NASA dreams may not have been realised, but she sure has broken many glass ceilings to ensure that other women do!

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2016 14:29:17 IST