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Ruth Siple attends South Pole Dome dedication.
Photo Credit: R.W. Milton/Antarctic Photo Library
Ruth Siple, second from right, attends the dedication of the South Pole Dome Station on Jan. 9, 1975 — the same season when the first civilian contractor women worked on the Ice, including at South Pole. Siple's husband, Paul Siple, was the first South Pole winter-over leader.

Famous firsts

Long list of accomplishments by women in Antarctica

The last bastion of male supremacy, as some had called Antarctica, was finally breached in 1969 when female U.S. scientists were finally allowed on the continent. That was but one important moment in history of many for women in Antarctica.

First woman ashore: Caroline Mikkelsen, wife of a Norwegian whaling captain, lands on the eastern coast on Feb. 20, 1935.

First women to spend a year on the Ice: Edith Ronne and Jennie Darlington in 1947-48 on Stonington Island near the Antarctic Peninsula.

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First woman to do research on the continent: Marie V. Klenova, a Russian marine geologist, in summer 1956 aboard the Russian icebreakers Ob and Lena and at Mirny.

First U.S. woman to do research on the continent: Christine Muller-Schwarze, with her husband Dietland, at Cape Crozier, October 1969.

First women at the South Pole: Lois Jones, Terry Lee Tickhill Terrell, Eileen McSaveney, Kay Lindsay, reporter Jean Pearson, and New Zealand biologist Pam Young in 1969.

First U.S. woman to conduct research in the continental interior as a principal investigator: Irene Peden, 1970; she later served as a division director at the National Science Foundation.

First American woman to serve as chief scientist at an Antarctic research station: Mary Alice McWhinnie in 1974 at McMurdo Station, after working on U.S. research ships from 1962 to1972.

First women to winter at McMurdo Station: Mary Alice McWhinnie and Mary Odile Cahoon, in 1974, with 128 men.

First women civilian contractors: Elena Marty and Jan Boyd, summer field season, 1974-75.

First woman to winter at South Pole: Dr. Michele Eileen Raney, the first female year-round physician, for the 1978-79 summer and winter, at the age of 27.

First woman scientist to work at Palmer Station: Mary Alice McWhinnie during the 1975-76 summer season. The Mary Alice McWhinnie Marine Science Center at Palmer was named in her honor.

First women to winter at Palmer Station: Scientist Ann Waylette and cook Becky Heimark during the winter of 1985.

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Curator: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Support Contract | NSF Official: Winifred Reuning, Division of Polar Programs