the most part, however, women didnt work on the Antarctic
continent during the 1940s and early 1950s, though they did
work around it. The
International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 19571958
was a year-long cooperative international earth science research
effort. Several hundred stations worldwide recorded data in
atmospheric and geophysical sciences, with a special emphasis
on Antarctica. This was a problem for most women scientists,
as a majority of countries didnt allow women to work
on The Ice.
American female scientists, the trip ashore was blocked by
the U.S. Navy, which had established McMurdo Station, the
main American base in Antarctica, as a military outpost in
1956. The Navy refused to transport women onto the continent.
And even if they could get there, women faced another obstacle.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), which today coordinates
almost all U.S. scientific research in Antarctica through
the United States Antarctic Program, wouldnt allow women
to work on The Ice either. As a result, American women scientists
had to rely on their male colleagues and students to set up
instruments and collect data and samples.
1969 - the first American women visit the South Pole.
wasnt until the Womens Liberation Movement in
the 1960s and 1970s that misconceptions about women began
to melt away in the Western world. In the United States in
1969, the Navy lifted its ban, and officials at the NSF began
inviting female scientists to submit research proposals. Finally,
during the 1969-1970 season, the first women were included
in the United States Antarctic Program. Christine Muller-Schwarze,
a Ph.D. psychologist from Utah State University, became the
first woman to work with the U.S. Antarctic Research Program,
studying penguin behavior in Antarctica along with her scientist
the door had opened, many women came to work in Antarctica,
including several Americans. Shortly after Muller-Schwarze,
Lois Jones, a geochemist at Ohio State University, arrived
to head a four-woman team of researchers to study, among other
topics, the mystery of salty lakes fed by freshwater glaciers
in Antarcticas Dry Valleys.