Training for the North Pole in the Arabian Desert

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Training for the North Pole in the Arabian Desert

The frozen tundra of the Arctic and the scorching desert of the Arabian Peninsula

surprisingly have a lot in common, if you ask British explorer Felicity Aston.

Aston, a WINGS Fellow who is best known as the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone, conceived, designed and The Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition, with the aim to foster cultural understanding among women from Europe and the Middle East.

The team of 11 women handpicked by Aston is training to ultimately ski to the last degree of the North Pole.

“The goal is to complete a really great physical journey to send out a positive message about what women are achieving and to inspire others to do whatever their heart tells them to do,” Aston said.

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Antarctica as a Backdrop for Women in Science

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Antarctica as a Backdrop for Women in Science

The inaugural voyage of the Homeward Bound initiative,

comprising 76 women with critical science backgrounds, returned safely from a 21-day trip to Antarctica.

The goal of Homeward Bound is to elevate the voices of women in science and to encourage them to play a large role in influencing scientific policy. The organizers hope to reach 1,000 women over 10 years.

One of the goals of Homeward Bound is to discuss sustainability and global issues related to climate change, making Antarctica a fitting backdrop because of its importance in the study of global warming. 

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A Day Without Women of Discovery

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A Day Without Women of Discovery

International Women’s Day acknowledges the achievements of women around the world.

This year, women are uniting and holding a strike to call attention to the significant contributions women make in society. In solidarity, we are recognizing five WINGS fellows whose incredible discoveries significantly advanced their respective fields of science.

Without these trailblazers, our understanding of the world and the universe surely would be hindered. They are truly Women of Discovery. To learn more about the rest of our Fellows and the incredible work they do, visit our Fellows page.

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Antarctica as a Model for Other Worlds

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Antarctica as a Model for Other Worlds

WINGS Fellow Rosaly Lopes returned safely from her expedition to study Mount Erebus,

home to one of the planet’s only lava lakes – a unique geological phenomenon found more commonly on Jupiter’s moon Io than Earth.  Lopes has studied Io extensively with her work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Lopes spent one month on Mount Erebus, which is located on Antarctica, and is the southernmost active volcano on Earth.

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Documenting the Female Chiefs of Maewo Island

On a small island located west of Fiji exists an anthropological anomaly: a group of female chiefs. Maewo Island is the only country in Melanesia with female chiefs, who are called ngwotari.

Explorer Sophie Hollingsworth carried the WINGS Flag on an expedition to this island in the Pacific Island Nation of Vanuatu to document their practices. The women seek to gain official status from the National Council of Chiefs of Vanuatu, which they have previously been denied.

In performing the first and only ethnographic study on these women, Hollingsworth’s work may help the female chiefs gain official status.

During the festival, the women demonstrated their practices and powers, undertook grade promotions, engaged in traditional dancing and performed secret ceremonies, including the use of black and white magic. Hollingsworth also visited nearby villages to learn more about both female and male chiefs.

Hollingsworth participated in the local customs of sand drawing, water music, bird calling and constellation naming.

Initially she visited the island with a team; however, they left and Hollingsworth stayed alone on the island for an additional month.

Hollingsworth spoke about her experience at a recent Explorer Talk event hosted by WINGS WorldQuest. She demonstrated speaking Bislama, the local native language. She learned how to speak the language by taking lessons over Skype with a tribe member who formerly lived on the island.

“It’s not like there’s a Rosetta Stone for Bislama,” Hollingsworth said. “That would have made things so much easier.”

When asked what piece of information about her experience she would bring back to Americans, Hollingsworth answered: “There is more than one way of doing things.”

She touched upon this in her recently published flag report:

There is a troubling fallacy that pockets of communities practicing traditional culture unconsumed by technology and globalization are somehow leftovers of a past era. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are modern men and women who continue to defend their unique way of life and prove that there are other ways of interacting with the earth.

For more information about Sophie Hollingsworth’s expedition, see her full flag report here, or visit her website, The Sofia Log.

Subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on social media to learn about future Explorer Talks and other upcoming events.

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5 Ways to Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science

While women comprise 48 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they comprise just 24 percent of the science, technology, engineering, and math – or STEM – fields, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Women in science have made great strides over the last several decades, but the numbers are clear ... We have a long way to go.

In late 2015, the United Nations declared February 11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science to recognize the contributions of women to the scientific fields and to help empower women and girls to continue to transform the world. The need for science-based evidence in policymaking is increasingly crucial, and we know that women are part of the solution.

Here are five ways you can celebrate women and girls in science today:

 

1. Learn about a woman in science.

Though they have not always been recognized, throughout history women have made contributions to the fields of science and exploration. Take a moment to learn about women scientists throughout history and the 79 women who have received the WINGS' Women of Discovery Award since 2003.  

2. Sign the 500 Women Pledge.

Last year, a group of five women scientists drafted an open letter to reaffirm their commitment to inclusivity in society and scientific enterprise. More than 16,000 women from around the world have now added their names to the letter. If you are a woman in science, sign the pledge here.

3. March for Science.

On Earth Day, April 22, scientists and science enthusiasts alike will march in solidarity to support publicly-funded science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.

Click here to march with WINGS.

Click here to find a march in your area.

4. Register your action.

If you take action, submit it to the official womeninscienceday.org website, where you will be added to the collective voice on Parity in Science.

5. Support WINGS.

WINGS WorldQuest showcases the under-recognized discoveries and accomplishments of women explorers, promotes women working in the field sciences, and inspires the next generation of pathfinders. Since its founding in 2003, WINGS has provided more than $600,000 in unrestricted funding to women in science and exploration. You can make a tax-deductible donation to WINGS here.

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