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Comonwealth Antarctic Expedition 2009 small

Seven women skied their way from the coast of Antarctica to the geographical South Pole in 38 days. No guide, no strong man (or dogs) to carry or drag their supplies. Seven women.

Three of the seven where the first person from their country to reach the South Pole,  and two more were the first women from their country. Only the two Brits (one of whom was a last minute replacement for the Ghanaian woman who, sadly, contracted malaria shortly before the date set for the expedition) come from a country where women have accomplished such a feat repeatedly.

From their website:

Marking the 60th aniversary of the Commonwealth, the expedition aims to demonstrate the potential of greater intercultural understanding and exchange, while at the same time highlighting the achievements of women across the world.

So first and foremost: kudos to each and everyone of these women, for braving the gauntlet and succeeding so brilliantly in their mission.

*     *     *

Now… the rant.

Had any of you had heard about this before this weekend? I hadn’t. Not a peep.

These women have been training for months, and it took them over a month of skying to reach their goal. This project is not a sudden whim for any of them–between the risks taken, the time commitment, the energy spent, this is a major undertaking.

And if I may ask, what press coverage was there?

Until this weekend, when they had a segment in the Today’s Show that I could watch online, I had no clue whatsoever this was going on. No fanfare, no press release, not. a. peep.

Wanna bet that if it had been the first seven (or five) men from any group of nations there would have been more coverage?

Double standards, we haz ’em


  • No… I hadn’t heard anything about it. Egads, skiing across the South Pole…whoa.


  • Unless something horrible happens, we barely hear a thing about the amazing strength and dedication needed to prepare for and accomplish such feats. Seven women skiing to the South Pole? Anyone freeze or fall into a crevasse? No? Ho-hum. Though if one of them had gotten hurt, I’m sure someone out there would have been quick to say something about their gender. How sad is that?

    Congratulations to these strong, capable, amazing women! And a speedy recovery to the Ghanaian!


  • No – never heard about it. Now if the women were half naked I’m sure it would have received media coverage. I also believe, unlike men, women show strength and do amazing things everyday without the need to say ‘look at me.’


  • Yes, I suspect you are correct. Had this been an all-male crew, we would have known about it. Your post is also the very first I’ve heard of this expedition, skiing their way to the South Pole.
    The thing about us women is that we are very accustomed to just ‘doing’ it. We don’t expect accolades, well…unless we are certain media darlings. Like the Nike commercial says, we just do it. Whether ‘it’ involves raising the kids, cleaning the house, holding down two jobs to support a family, caring for elderly relatives, we just do it.
    Do you remember the nonfiction book, Not Without My Daughter? The author says something very profound. She says she learned that if there are bugs in the rice, you pick them out. If the baby poops on the floor, you clean it up. You just do it and you get on with things.
    As far as I’m concerned, these women definitely Did It!


  • LizA
    January 18
    7:48 pm

    Wow. I am very impressed by these couragous ladies! And sorry I did not hear about them before, although I am not surprised, for the reasons everyone has stated, but also because I live in Austria and we get little news of the Commonwealth. But it is a general fact that women who do amazing athletic things get less attention than men. That ought to change!


  • Lorraine
    January 19
    2:13 am

    This is the first I heard of these awesome women, too. Can you imagine doing what they did? Just the thought scares me. What an amazing accomplishment!

    Such courage and strength makes all of them real life bad ass babes.


  • I heard a story quite some time ago about women preparing for a trek of this nature. The only details I remember were the huge numbers of Mars Bars they had bought and were cutting into bite sized pieces as they would not be able to cut them in that weather. It was quite some time ago so it could possibly have been this same team of women. I was absolutely amazed at the level of detail they needed to go to with their planning and also the amount of committment they needed to have in order to do this.

    Sad that one of the number wasn’t able to be there. Hope she recovers well.


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