On this date in 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space aboard Vostok 6. It would be nineteen years before another woman made it to orbit.
While she was initially selected for political reasons (new socialist youth with dead war hero father), she took to her role like a duck to water, passing through jet fighter pilot training and later getting a doctorate in cosmonaut engineering. Plus, in those days it took a fair amount of courage to strap yourself in a Russian rocket, as the early ones were pretty far from OSHA compliant and a ride in one was an iffy lottery ticket with the booby prize being a future as an airbrushed blank spot in Soviet space program photos.
Incidentally, on her one mission Tereshkova completed 48 orbits, spending almost three days in space and logging more time in space than all U.S. astronauts up to that point combined.