Yvonne Brill, 88, died last week in New Jersey. According to her New York Times obituary, which ran on Saturday, her standout accomplishments were the eight years she took off from work to raise her three children, the way she followed her husband from job to job, and her “mean beef stroganoff” recipe.
Oh, yeah, and she was also a pioneering rocket scientist for NASA who invented the jet propulsion system that keeps satellites orbiting properly. In 2011, Brill received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama. You know, no biggie.
The original version of the Times obituary about Brill, which was posted on March 30 in the afternoon, lead with her domestic accomplishments. Quite rightly, many took to Twitter to blast the paper for this sexist obituary.
Here is how NewsDiffs.org captured the changes to Brill’s obit, which were updated on March 30 in the evening:
How disappointing: a male scientist would never have his obituary read this way. At least the Times updated the obituary to reflect that Yvonne Brill didn’t make it into the New York Times obituary page for her World’s Best Mom! mug. But it’s shameful it was ever written this way and published in the first place: Don’t worry, everyone! She might have been a brilliant NASA scientist — but she was still maternal and feminine!
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