Women in Antarctica

How far would you go to prove that you have all the brains (and brawn) of your male counterparts?

To the ends of the Earth?

Well, that’s exactly what the 76 women scientists of the Homeward Bound 2016 expedition did.

History’s largest female voyage to Antarctica was neither a vacation nor a simple fulfillment of wild-woman wanderlust. It was a landmark statement heard around the globe in response to prevailing sentiments of discouragement and sexism in the scientific realm. Shockingly, the United States didn’t allow American women to work in Antarctica until 1969, and it has been an uphill battle since then for women to get a foothold on the icy continent.

Photo by Vincent van Zeijst via Wikimedia Commons

The challenge inspired women’s leadership activist Fabian Dattner. Last year, she joined forces with Ecosystem Modeler Jessica Melbourne-Thomas to send a boat full of women to Antarctica on a mission that would serve both scientific and gender-equality agendas.

Simply put, women want to take an active role in protecting the planet, and this opportunity sought to fling the door wide open for them. The Homeward Bound expedition’s motto became, “Mother Nature needs her daughters.”

“You feel something inside you that makes you want to take care of people and the planet,” French population modeler and expedition participant Deborah Pardo, who attributes a portion of her passion to motherhood, explained to CNN. “Women have this drive to ensure the sustainability of the environment and the welfare of their families.”

And so, after nearly a year of training, 76 women from around the world—ranging in professions from marine ecologists to doctors, physicists and astronomers—set sail from Argentina on December 2.

Destination: Antarctica.

photo, http://homewardboundprojects.com.au

After two and a half weeks at sea, the women set foot on the wildly remote shores of the earth’s southernmost landscape.

“Antarctica represents the relative fragility of the natural world, but it is also an environment that can provide us with a lot of information about what’s happening on the global scale,” said Melbourne-Thomas. “Antarctica is an important system in terms of providing us with early warnings about climate change, but also a way to untangle the effect of multiple changes in the environment.”

Photo by Andrew Shiva via Wikimedia

According to CNN, the Antarctic expedition was part of a 10-year project to help women in science cultivate their clout. “The 10-year goal, starting with Homeward Bound 2016, is to engage, encourage and support a diverse pool of women into leadership roles where they can shape policy and decision making. The hope is to establish one great network of 1,000 women with backgrounds in science collaborating for a shared vision.”

Melbourne-Thomas added, “We just really can’t afford to have the voice of women missing at the leadership table. Women bring a diversity of approaches and a whole range of complementary skills and styles in terms of science, and leadership more generally.”

Plans are now underway for a second all-female trip to Antarctica in February 2018.

Learn more at HomewardBoundProjects.com.au.

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  1. CJ Armstrong says:

    We have neighbors that met where they were working in Antarctica! They were only there when it was “summer” there. The husband lived here before going to work there and before meeting his wife. She quit working there and is teaching at our local middle school. He worked there until this last season and quit, is now working at Mesa Verde National park. He is a journeyman welder.
    After listening to the stories they’ve told about being there in the “summer” . . . NO THANKS! I’m not made for that!

  2. Krista says:

    I’m so proud of these women, their strength, and their desire to stand for all women! I wish I could participate in something like this but I know I would never survive that kind of weather. I truly hope they can reach their goal of 1,000 women soonand continue to promote women for leadership.

  3. BB king says:

    My half sister was stationed in the Antarctic waters for 2 years with NOAA. (better her than me.) She froze the entire time but considers it a huge accomplishment.
    We are very pro penguin in our family. I was only in the waters south of Tierra Fuego, about 800 miles from Antarctica, that was many many years ago, in 1970. Smooth sailing luckily.

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  1. BB king says:

    having camped out in snow,in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during my year of living outdoors in a tent, I don’t ever want to go there again.( in winter ) This photo reminded me of my ” snow days”

  2. Mary Pitman says:

    oh, my, in the snow??? you are brave (or crazy? just kidding!)

    • BB king says:

      HAHA, just young , foolish and poor ! Lived on trout I caught daily. I was on national forest land and had a special permit to have a campfire. I will never eat trout again . For most of the time it was really nice, but come winter it got just too cold. Ah the experience of being young.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The snow looks like it is finally melting. Your Wall Tents are just so Farmgirl perfect in concept, luxury, and inspiration!

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Women at Play

“We all know that exercise is good for us, but why does it have to be so much like work?” asks Joan Griffin, author of Women at Play: A Girl’s Guide to Everyday Outdoor Exercise to Look Good, Feel Good, Sleep Well and be Happy.

It’s just the sort of book to put a little spring in your step (pun intended).

Behind its pretty cover, Women at Play promises to “guide you through a variety of outdoor activities, enjoyed locally, in season, in moderation and for fun. No gimmicks, no gadgets, no anything-ometers required.”

Joan Griffin, a Boston trial attorney by trade, has made playing a priority in her own life as a means of staying fit and healthy. Her career doesn’t offer much room (physically or figuratively) to invigorate her muscles and get her lungs pumping. So, she strives for a natural approach to fitness that focuses on outdoor fun and yields impressive results such as better sleep, positive feelings, and a more youthful approach to life.

In her book, Griffin shares an “empowering mixture of practical suggestions and uncommon common sense, engagingly revealed through stories of childhood summers in the Irish countryside and a lifetime of playing outside in the four seasons of New England.”

Sounds like a good book for the exercise conundrum.

Find Joan’s book at ToadBooks.com.

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  1. Nielsen,Winifred T. says:

    This sounds like a good book for all of us no matter what our age is. It is a challenge in today’s world to find time for just exercise when there are so many other factors pulling at our time. It is true however, that you always feel more energized when you are able to exercise regularly and get outside more.

  2. Karlyne says:

    I like it! Not to be disparaging about going to the gym, but how much better is it to be going to the outdoors?

  3. Krista says:

    It’s like she read my mind! Exercise feels so much like a chore. It would be nice to find a way to exercise and enjoy what I’m doing. I’m adding this book to list of books to read.

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