Today is International Women's Day, and yesterday was the birthday of Valentina Tereshkova. It's ok to admit you don't know who that is. Despite beating Sally K. Ride (and many men) into space by 20 years, Tereshkova and her comrade Svetlana Savitskaya are probably most notably remembered in a souvenir apron bearing Savitskaya's face.
Let's change that.
Asking around informally, most people I spoke with, unless they're actual space nerds, didn't know the first woman in space, or answered the first American woman, Sally Ride. Truth is, she was beaten to the punch by 20 years, when Valentina Tereshkova rode Vostok 6 into space. Perhaps even more significantly, Tereshkova was the first civilian in space as well, as all the dudes going before, Soviet or American, were military. Oh, and after Tereshkova's one flight, she had racked up more hours in space than all American astronauts combined. How ya like that right stuff?