More animals have been into space than women

In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.

A celebrated moment in history, just two years after the first man in space: Yuri Gagarin.

But since that pioneering flight, more animals have been into space than women.

Since 1961, 556 people have travelled beyond Earth.

Research by RS Components shows that of that number only 65 have been women, compared to 57 dogs, 32 chimps and two tortoises,

not to mention mice, fruit flies, frogs, jellyfish, and spiders.

So, which countries are leading the way for women in space?

The UK has the highest percentage.

It’s sent two people into space. One was a woman.

Canada, China, Japan, and the U.S. come in after that with roughly 15% - 20% female representation among their astronauts.

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American women in space.

She said “If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys.”

The most recent women in space were NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch who completed the first all-female spacewalk in 2019.

ASTRONAUT JESSICA MEIR: "We hope that we can provide an inspiration to everybody, not only women, but to everybody that has a dream, and has a big dream and is willing to work hard to make that dream come true."

Koch also set the record for the longest duration a female has spent in space during a single mission: 328 days.

However it’s Peggy Whitson who has the record for cumulative time spent in space at 665 days.

"What was really important to me was to work hard. I always said I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but a lot of work and effort went into contributing to my success. And I think that young people have a great opportunity and they need to find what it is, find their passion and try and work really, really hard to make it come true that is an amazing journey along the way."

Video Transcript

- Valentina Tereshkova now 7 and 1/2 hours in orbit.

- In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.

- 800 miles--

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- A celebrated moment in history, just two years after the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. But since that pioneering flight, more animals have been into space than women.

- Chimpanzee number 65, nicknamed Ham.

- Since 1961, 556 people have traveled beyond Earth. Research by RS Components shows that of that number, only 65 have been women, compared to 57 dogs, 32 chimps, and 2 tortoises, not to mention mice, fruit flies, frogs, jellyfish, and spiders.

- The mice will be exposed to the--

- So which countries are leading the way for women in space? The UK has the highest percentage. It sent two people into space, one was a woman. Canada, China, Japan, and the US come in after that with roughly 15% to 20% female representation among their astronauts.

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She said, "If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys."

JESSICA MEIR: I'm NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.

- The most recent women in space were NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch who completed the first all-female spacewalk in 2019.

DONALD TRUMP: Congratulations. Christina and Jessica on this historic event. This is truly historic.

JESSICA MEIR: We hope that we can provide an inspiration to everybody. Not only women, but to everybody that has a dream, and has a big dream, and that is willing to work hard to make that dream come true.

- Koch also set the record for the longest duration a female has spent in space during a single mission, 328 days.

- --a farewell wave.

PEGGY WHITSON: All right. Well everyone, welcome onboard the International Space Station.

- However, it's Peggy Whitson who has the record for cumulative time spent in space, at 665 days.

PEGGY WHITSON: What was really important to me was to work hard. I always said, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but a lot of work and effort went into contributing to my success. And I think that young people have a great opportunity. And they need to find what it is, find their passion, and try and work really, really hard to make it come true. That is an amazing journey along the way.