International Women’s Day encourages us to stop, recognise and celebrate the many economic, political and social achievements accomplished by women. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some trailblazing modern female explorers. While we all know who Amelia Earhart is, and that Sacagawea was the brains behind Lewis and Clark, there are other female explorers and adventurers who should be celebrated.
1. Valentina Tereshkova
The first woman in space and an accomplished pilot. Launching on 16 June 1963, Valentina flew the Vostok 6 mission. She logged over 70 hours in space and orbited the globe 48 times during the mission. She earned the title Hero of the Soviet Union and was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal, the USSR’s highest honours.
2. Sylvia Earle
An oceanographer, explorer, aquanaut, author and the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agency, in 1979 Sylvia Earle set the record for the deepest dive without a tether. She walked for two and a half hours along the ocean floor at a depth of 1,250 feet in a pressurised metal suit.
3. Ann Bancroft
Dubbed by some as the “Jane-of-all-exploration-trades”, Ann Bancroft was the first woman to reach the North Pole by dogsled and foot in 1986 with a journey lasting 56 days. In 1993, she led the first women’s team to reach the South Pole on skis, becoming the first woman to visit both the North and South Poles. This over-achiever was also the first woman to ski across Greenland. In 2001 she added to her list of firsts by becoming the first women to ski across Antarctica with fellow female trailblazer Liv Arnesen.
4. Liv Arnesen
Aside from becoming one of the first women to ski across Antarctica, Liv Anesen is also the first woman to ski to the South Pole alone. Her 745 mile journey took 50 days and she reached the pole during December in 1994.
5. Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Gerlinde Kaltenbunner made history when she summited K2 in 2011 as the first women to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks without supplemental oxygen or porters.