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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Cosmonaut is Woman of the Century
Tereshkova and President Vladimir Putin
Tereshkova was congrulated by President Vladimir Putin
Russia's first female cosmonaut has won the Greatest Woman Achiever of the Century award in London.

Valentina Tereshkova, 63, the first woman in space, was given the award by the International Women of the Year Association.

Vostok-VI
Tereshkova went up on the Vostok-VI in 1963
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, "her unsurpassed successes in the cause of equality, exploration of the outer space for the benefit of peace, and protection of the planet's ecology" made her the association's unanimous choice.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela was also honoured as the Leader of the Century.

Ms Tereshkova made her one and only space flight in Vostok-VI in June 1963.

"We are incredibly proud that Tereshkova will be attending the ceremony," said the association's president, Lady Lothian.

Tereshkova
Tereshkova has a moon crater named after her
"[She] remains the only woman in the world to have carried out a solo flight into space for the duration of three days. This is an amazing achievement."

Ms Tereshkova, who has a moon crater named after her, chaired the Soviet Committee for Women from 1968 to 1987.

She now heads the Russian Government's Centre for International Scientific and Cultural Co-operation.

Celebrity event

About 500 high-profile women attended the lavish lunchtime ceremony at London's Café Royal.

Germaine Greer and Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Holmes
Germaine Greer and Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Holmes at the event
Speakers at the ceremony included Germaine Greer, Mary Quant, Joan Armatrading and former racehorse trainer Jenny Pitman.

The women invited were asked to vote for the most influential woman of 2000 and selected former UK Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, who won with 13% of the poll.

Cherie Blair, Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi all received 7% of the vote, followed by Madeleine Albright and Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

The poll also found that most women felt they would see equality in the workplace within this lifetime, but not within 10 years.

The women also named pollution as the greatest threat to the world over the next 100 years.

The event was attended by men for the first time in the association's 45-year history.

The association said the decision to invite men was in recognition of the fact that excellence had no gender.

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