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Women Wintering In The Antarctic

After World War II there were several nations in the Antarctic doing research in geology, ice movements, upper atmospherics, and surveying. But all the personnel were men. Governments running the scientific programs were against women wintering in the Antarctic with the men and in sharing the limited quarters. This ignored the fact that women had lived with men in close bridesmaid brooch quarters in mountaineering situations.

The only exception was the private Ronne expedition of 1947. Finne Ronne allowed his wife to winter, and to keep her company, his chief pilot's wife also stayed on. Unfortunately the fall out between the two men resulted in a breakdown between the two women.
Generally the idea of having women wintering in the Antarctic was swarovski considered disruptive to male bonding in the harsh environment. There was also the possible disruption of romance and sex. The scientific Antarctic focus and limited funds meant the men had to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

But by the 1960s the Soviet Union had women scientists wintering in the Antarctic, the Americans succumbed by the 1970s, and even the Australians engagement ring stores had women wintering in the 1980s. The British finally relented and allowed women to winter over in the mid-1990s despite earlier UK anti-discrimination legislation. The Chinese who stated five years later that women were hardy enough to withstand the rigours of an Antarctic winter finally, after the British, allowed women to winter over.

In 2005 I was on a British swarovski on sale sponsored cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula. Half of the passengers had wintered in the Antarctic. They were all males. There were five women on board who had been imminently qualified to do scientific work in an Antarctic winter; the British Antarctic Survey had turned all five down. A British Antarctic Survey official told one women applicant: "BAS doesn't hire women."

Now the British are keen to hire women to winter over especially if they are in the technical or physics field. Fear of litigation had changed the mind of the British government.
Women now winter in the Antarctic as meteorologists, field workers, and doctors as well as many other areas. The Antarctic door of opportunity is now open to women.



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