This International Women’s Day on March 8, Aurora Expeditions is celebrating the indomitable women who inspire us to keep exploring. Men such as Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott are household names, and we think a few ladies should be, too. With their pioneering journeys and arduous feats, the fearless females on this list are without a doubt among the greatest adventurers in the world today. They embody what Aurora Expeditions is all about: seeking out thrilling experiences in the world’s wild places.
At only 5’3″, Rosie Stancer may not cut a towering figure, but her remarkable feats of exploration certainly set the bar high. Among the many accomplishments she has to her name, she’s skied solo to the South Pole and journeyed alone for 84 days across the Arctic Ocean. Plucky and courageous, she even amputated two of her toes with a Leatherman knife after experiencing frostbite and gangrene.
“Women are very resilient mentally and I think that what we might lack in the physical strength men have we certainly make up in resourcefulness, flexibility and intuition,” she told HuffPost UK Lifestyle in 2015.
“I’m not exactly the preconceived image of a polar explorer — I’m not tall and I don’t have a beard, I’m a woman and I’m 5ft 3.” But she added that “you don’t have to lose your femininity to do something powerful that requires physical strength.”
We couldn’t agree more with her inspiring words.
Ann Bancroft is another formidable polar explorer. She was the first woman to ski across Greenland and — as far as anyone knows — was also the first woman to cross the ice to both the North and South poles. In 2001, Ann and Norwegian adventurer Liv Arnesen (another tenacious female polar explorer) completed a 94-day trek across Antarctica, becoming the first women to sail and ski across the continent.
Ann makes our list of top women in polar adventure not only for her feats of outstanding endurance, but also for her philanthropy. She founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation in 1997 to support girls in her home of Minnesota pursue their dreams through mentoring programs and grants.
In 2012, Felicity Aston became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica. She accomplished this trek across the coldest, windiest and driest continent on earth, in 59 days — no mean feat!
“When I read about other people doing stuff I always ask myself would I have done that,” she told The Guardian. “In this case, I wanted to know if I could do it. Then it is about finding my own limits.”
And Felicity has tested her own limits many times. That Antarctic skiing adventure wasn’t Felicity’s first time traversing one of the world’s remote regions; she has also crossed Lake Baikal (the world’s oldest and deepest lake, located in Siberia) and led teams of explorers through Greenland and the South Pole.|
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Meet the women of Aurora Expeditions
Of course, we couldn’t finish up a post about fearless female polar adventurers without mentioning our own extraordinary women. Aurora Expeditions’ client service executives, naturalists, marketing managers, expedition leaders, doctors, historians, hotel managers, sales staff, glaciologists, photographers and administrators share a passion for exploration.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve interviewed some of our extraordinary female staff members! See below:
Are you inspired to follow in the footsteps of these remarkable women? Aurora Expeditions offers intimate, small ship expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. You’ll be able to meet other women with a penchant for adventure and get to meet some of our inspiring female team members, too!