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Women in the Cold Regions – International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Photo courtesy Billy-Ace Baker

Ann Bancroft, Louise Arner Boyd, Nina Demme, Maria Klenova, Josephine Diebitsch Peary, Jackie Ronne, Caroline Mikkelsen, Ingrid Christensen, Maria Klenova, Rita Horner, Lois Jones, Taqulittuq, Edna Plumstead, Vivian Bushnell, Helen Fricker, Ingrid Christensen, Elizabeth Truswell, Lene Kielsen Holm, …

We could extend this list of female polar explorers and scientists much further, and there are many more, especially Indigenous women, whose names are unknown to the Western historiography.

Until now, the pioneering work and outstanding achievements of the female polar explorers are less known. But we can change this as a community – have a look at their stories and share them with others!

Let us introduce two polar researchers that personally inspired us.

One of Luisa’s favorite female polar pioneers is a silent voice. Christiane Ritter was an Austrian writer and artist. She spent 1934 a year in a hut in North Svalbard with her husband, a hunter. She wrote a book about her experiences in the Arctic, called “A Woman in the Polar Night.” Her stories might not be about races to the poles or “first-ever expeditions”, but human challenges and wonders in a fascinating Arctic nature. Christiane’s quiet way to deal with those challenges, but also her choice of words and pictures deeply impressed Luisa.

Loeka is inspired by Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sorby who created the platform “Hearts in the Ice”. They were the first women to over-winter in Svalbard without men. The two citizen scientists stayed in a little cabin in Svalbard for nine months and collected data for ongoing research projects. In addition, they taught children all over the world with live satellite videos from the cabin.

Who are your favorite women in the Cold Regions? Let us know on our Twitter account @apecs_germany.

On February 11, we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science – so also all the female polar researchers. For this occasion, the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) will have an online film screening of PICTURE A SCIENTIST followed by an online keynote speech and a panel discussion. PICTURE A SCIENTIST is a documentary film by Sharon Shattuck & Ian Cheney, picturing researchers fighting for a new chapter for women scientists. Among the interviewed scientists is Jane Willenbring, a geologist who does research in Antarctica.

For registration and further information:

And if you would like to become engaged beyond the 11th of February: Consider participating in the “Breaking the Ice Ceiling Polar Women Researchers Series!” More information is found here.

by Luisa von Albedyll and Loeka Jongejans

Amy Macfarlane and Julia Regnery during sea ice work during MOSAiC, Photo by Lianna Nixon

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