The Forgotten Women: Valentina Tereshkova

During a flying visit to the London Science Museum last week, I stumbled upon an area in the space section that I never remember seeing as a kid.

The ‘exhibition’ was on Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. It included various memorabilia of Tereshkova such as one of her outfits and her personal Balalaika (Russian instrument). Accompanying the various artefacts was a projection of a short film about Tereshkova and her amazing accomplishments.

Tereshkova’s life changing experience took place on the 12th June 1963. Where she completed 48 orbits of the Earth in her three days, alone in space. The motivation behind this space mission was to not only study the impact of space flight on the female body but, for the Russians, the main aim was to achieve another ‘space spectacular’ ahead of the Americans and to create a heroine who would represent the virtues of the communist system to the world.

The thought of space scares me to death in the 21st Century, let alone in the 60’s where space travel was new to science. The fact that Tereshkova was able to tackle this fear, and the possibility of never returning back to her beloved planet earth is incomprehensible.

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The short film:

To say I knew that women had even been in space would be a massive lie. After walking around this section of the museum I felt empowered but also confused as to why I had only just gained this knowledge. I can remember being taught about the first man in space or on the moon but why was the first female never talked about? I’d like to think that maybe if the subject of women in space or as astronauts had been taught in school it might have empowered girls (including myself), helping them understand that we can accomplish anything that our male peers could.

Thinking back to my initial reactions of the exhibition, I can’t believe I never knew that women had been in space. It just makes me wonder how many other amazing women have been forgotten or lost in history.

Thanks for reading!

Xo’s, Kitty Girl.


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