11 February, 2021

Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February), a celebration of women and girls in science led by UNESCO and UN-Women.

A person posing for the camera.“International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an important day to reflect on the continued contribution of women to polar science, and to remind ourselves that there is still work to do to create a truly inclusive environment in which everyone has the opportunity to follow a chosen career path. Women play a leading role in the success of science and operations at British Antarctic Survey and are working hard to shape an equitable future for polar science for all.” Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director, British Antarctic Survey

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we have brought together a collection of stories from women who have worked and studied with British Antarctic Survey. In their own words, the blogs below include scientific triumphs, fieldwork experiences and ongoing work to promote diversity in UK polar science.


A person posing for the cameraDr Amelié Kirchgaessner, Atmospheric Scientist

“I was often the only woman in seminars, or one of very few. We definitely stood out. Fortunately none of our fellow students, and only few of the lecturers and professors thought that we shouldn’t be there…” Read more: The only woman in seminars

A woman smiling for the camera.Rachel Furner, PhD Student

“I began my PhD looking at using machine learning to model the ocean. I quickly realised that while I might not be the ‘average’ student, I was far from old, and that there are so many people who don’t follow the traditional academic pathway…” Read more: Her Maths Story

A woman wearing sunglasses taking a selfieAlexandra Dodds, Albatross Zoological Field Assistant

“The best description of wintering on Bird Island I have heard is; ‘That’s the closest you’ll get to being in outer space without leaving the planet!’…” Read more: Isolated winter fieldwork on Bird Island

Katrin Linse smiling for the cameraDr Katrin Linse, Senior Biodiversity Biologist

“Over the last 25 years I have collected marine seafloor animals using epibenthic sledges throughout the Atlantic Ocean, from Iceland via the tropics to the southernmost Weddell Sea in Antarctica…” Read more: My ‘silver anniversary’ research cruise


A person posing for the cameraDr Jennifer Jackson, Whale Ecologist

“Understanding what the whales feed on will help us better understand how they use South Georgia waters and where the most important feeding areas are…” Read more: Blue whales return to South Georgia after near extinction


Kaitlin Naughten by the river camDr Kaitlin Naughten, Ocean Modeller

“Dispel the myth that there is one narrow standard of qualities and abilities – a “default person” – to which everyone should strive to assimilate…” Read more: Make sure stammered voices are heard


A woman smiling for the cameraRisa Ueno, PhD Student

“I became interested in machine learning when I was working in IT helping to build AI tools for businesses, so I used all my savings for a masters degree to specialise in it…” Read more: Using computational thinking to tackle real-world problems

Smiling at the cameraNadia Frontier, Rothera Marine Biologist

“Within days of arriving on station, we were out on the boat with the Rothera marine team to witness our first Antarctic dive. It was fantastic to see the operation unfold…” Read more: The Rothera marine team