The Latymer School History Magazine - page 20

PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES: THE
FIRST WOMAN IN SPACE
By Roxy Chakrabarti- Year 10
16
Just this month a shortlist of
one hundred volunteers for a
one-way mission to set up a
colony on Mars was
announced. Regarding these
one hundred, the split
between genders seems to
be evenly divided with fifty
women and fifty men making
it on to the shortlist. From
Britain only five have been
chosen but, surprisingly to
some, four of these five are
women - a fact that has
caused some eyebrows to
raise and questions to be
asked, even in this modern
day where gender equality
should be the norm. These
reactions, however, are a far
cry from the uproar there
would have been if this
mission had taken place sixty
years ago when there hadn’t
even been a woman in space
before! So, just imagine what
it was like for the first female
pioneer.
You may not have heard of
her, but Valentina Tereshkova
is her name (one people
should really be more aware
of) and she was the first
woman in space. Before
orbiting the Earth for three
days in 1963, Tereshkova
worked in a textile factory in
Yaroslavl, which was 150
miles North East from
Moscow. She used to
organise picnics for the
Communist Youth Club and
spent her free time going
parachute jumping. The 26
year-old was deeply inspired
by Yuri Gagarin, the first man
in space, and is said to have
sent a letter to the DOSAAF
(Volunteer Society for
Cooperation with the Army,
Aviation and Fleet) just after
his return from orbiting the
Earth, begging to be sent
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