After sending the first woman into space in 1963, Russia's space program has only sent three more female astronauts since then. Lagging behind when it comes to gender inclusion in their space program, Russia is conducting a bold experiment to fix this imbalance.
Russia just created the first all-female astronaut crew.
The crew consists of six women, all of them esteemed researchers and doctors. They will soon embark on an eight-day simulated trip to determine how women cope physically and psychologically in space. The ultimate goal is to send the crew to the moon.
"We believe women might not only be no worse than men at performing certain tasks in space, but actually better," said Sergei Ponomarev, the scientific director of the experiment.
Before the trip, there were sexist comments from colleagues and the media.
"I'd like to wish you a lack of conflicts, even though they say that in one kitchen, two housewives find it hard to live together," said their colleague Igor Ushakov, director of Moscow's Institute of Biomedical Problems.
The women in the crew provided the best comeback responses to these sexist remarks.
Astronaut Anna Kussmaul used sarcasm to shut down the sexism from the media.
"I don't know how we'll survive without shampoo," Kussmaul said. "Because even in this situation, we really want to stay looking pretty."
This wasn’t the first time female members of Russia’s space program faced sexism.
In 2014, when Yelena Serova became the fourth Russian woman in space, the media hounded her with questions about her hair in space.
"Can I ask a question, too: aren't you interested in the hairstyles of my colleagues?" Serova said.