Just Tell Them I Survived!: Women in Antarctica

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, 2001 - History - 232 pages
This collection of interviews celebrates women's participation in national and private expeditions to Antarctica. Based on 130 interviews the book ranges across the first women scientists to visit Macquarie Island in 1959, to contemporary 'winterers'. Given the extent to which men have traditionally marked out the territory, physically, socially and psychologically, how do women experience an Antarctic stay, what attracts them to remote places, and how do they depict the stunning beauty of Antarctica itself. Who are they, how do they speak of their work and their experiences, and what are the effects on their lives of working in Antarctica'..Robin Burns has not only talked to women from many different backgrounds in order to answer such questions, but has also been a summer expeditioner herself to gain authentic experience of her subject. The result is a comprehensive account of women in Antarctic expeditions. She discovers the deep-seated longings of women to join these expeditions, the barriers they have to overcome, the good times and the bad, and the ways they would like their experiences and reflections to be passed on to others.
 

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Contents

A story within the story
2
Telling and retelling the stories
8
women enter the Antarctic arena
15
q Resisting the female fatal impact
21
Continuity and change for women in ANARE
27
Would they select me to go? From longings to reality
35
Embracing adventure and challenge
41
A medley of attractions
47
IF YOU PAT ONE PAT THEM ALL
102
q Yes sexual relations do happen in Antarctica
109
TELL THEM I SURVIVED
132
q How can things be improved?
157
q Perceiving and representing Antarctica
171
THERES NO ROOM FOR HEROES THERE
180
Careers Antarctic careers and jobs
193
Appendices
206

Science on the continent
61
Feeling good and bad about work and self
75
The layering of culture on Antarctic stations
85
Notes
219
Copyright

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Page 223 - University as a partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with honours in History.
Page 220 - to draw together the names of the women about whom anything is known, and to set them against the background of the exploration, exploitation and scientific research of the Far South'.
Page 164 - I always record at night so it's all pink, and the birds — the penguins — think that you're a flock of penguins and they're all around you and giant petrels swoop on something dead on the ice, and the leopard seals come to check you out to see if there's something to eat. It's a really lovely, lovely place, it's really special.
Page 23 - September 1957 as having ruled, as if directing ship movements, that "[w]omen will not be allowed in the Antarctic until we can provide one woman for every man."68 Looking back, conscientious leaders such as Deep Freeze I engineering officer Dick Bowers were convinced that "women would have caused real problems in those early days," with "living conditions so primitive [and] sanitary conditions so poor.
Page 23 - I felt the men themselves didn't want women there. It was a pioneering job. I think the presence of women would wreck the illusion of the frontiersman — the illusion of being a hero.
Page 51 - ... and insights is necessary if we are to interpret foreign nations to ourselves as she has done so lucidly in her books. But over and above such gifts of unusual sensibility there must be something else - a quality which might seem paradoxical. A great traveller (in distinction to a merely good one) is a kind of introspective ; as she covers the ground outwardly, so she advances towards fresh interpretations of herself inwardly.
Page 165 - They were ever such a sight to behold! The forecast was for not particularly good weather, with a bit of wind and snow, but we got out to look at the colony and do another egg collection before they were buried in snow.
Page 225 - Group climate and individual functioning in an all-women Antarctic expedition team', Environment & Behavior, vol.
Page 228 - Is it really so bad? A comparison of positive and negative experiences in Antarctic winter stations', Environment & Behavior, vol. 32, no. 1, 2000, pp. 84-110. 5 'RTA' is shorthand for 'return to Australia' and there are printed 'RTA

About the author (2001)

Robin Burns is a lecturer in education and has received substantial grants for her work on women's issues and the Antarctic. She has been a summer Antarctic expeditioner to gain authentic experience of her subject.

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