Society

New York Times Under Fire For 'Sexist' Obituary About Scientist Yvonne Brill

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The New York Times is under fire after they published a seemingly sexiest obituary of a rocket scientist by leading with her excellent cooking ability and mothering skills, leaving her professional success completely out of the first paragraph.

Yvonne Brill was a renowned rocket scientist, with a long list of accomplishments beginning in the 1940s. Over her career, she patented a propulsion system used in communication satellites, was honored by NASA, was inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and was given the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama.

On Wednesday, she died at age 88. She suffered from breast cancer complications.

Before the Times edited the obituary, it began: "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children."

After readers filled Twitter and other social media sites with criticism, they changed the obituary to start with, "She was a brilliant rocket scientist," and deleted the beef stroganoff comment.

"Ugh. Can you imagine a man's obit with this lead paragraph?" Nancy Franklin tweeted with a link to the article.

"Jeez. A mother and wife. And then oh a brilliant rocket scientist. NYT gets the priorities right," user Benedikte said.

Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan even felt it was sexist, tweeting, "To the many who've tweeted at me about the Yvonne Brill obituary, I sure agree."

Sexism was something Brill was very familiar with during her years on Earth.

When she was studying at the University of Manitoba in her native Canada, she was forbidden to study engineering because they said they had no accommodations for women at their outdoor camp.

Despite this major setback, she decided to pursue her dreams anyway by majoring in math and chemistry.

"Nobody had the right degrees back then, so it didn't matter. I didn't have engineering, but the engineers didn't have the chemistry and math," she said. "We all learned together."

She then continued her studies in California, exploring the aerospace industry and then later took time off to raise her children.

She noted that it was difficult for women to receive praise in the science field.

"In order to get an honor, you have to be nominated," she said. "It rarely occurs to men to nominate women."

Sources: NY Daily News, The Daily Beast