“Women at the Poles” at PONANT: discover Antarctica and the Arctic alongside renowned explorers

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The cruise line PONANT unveils its “Women at the Poles” initiative led by the think tank Le Cercle Polaire. Laurence de la Ferrière, Tiina Itkonen and Kate Leeming were invited to talk about their exploits and their vision of women’s polar expeditions aboard The Australwhich was sailing in the heart of Antarctica.

Support for “Women at the Poles” is long-term with an explorer also invited in August 2023, in the Arctic this time, and a thematic exploration aboard the Commander Charcot in August 2024.

Women at the Poles, an initiative that pays tribute to female polar adventurers from all over the world

Reputed to be extremely difficult, the expedition in the polar environment is also a symbol in the fight for equality and against all forms of discrimination against women. In this universe long preempted by men, many women write the story of the discovery of the polar territories and their inhabitants.

Explorers, photographers and polar scientists from around the world, these women achieve feats that have nothing to envy to those of their male counterparts. It is to help make them visible that the Cercle Polaire association initiated the “Women at the Poles” operation, with which PONANT is associated.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda considers gender equality as a “necessary condition for building a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world”. To contribute to this sustainable development objective, the “Women at the Poles” operation brings together the testimonies of 50 polar adventurers from all over the world. They tell us about their exploits and share with us the spirit in which they achieved them, in a booklet which will soon be freely accessible online. These testimonies will also be available on the Facebook page and on the Cercle Polaire website.

Three renowned female explorers recently testified to their unique approach during conferences and discussions with passengers on board The Austral who sailed between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula from February 23 to March 5:

Laurence de la Ferriere, explorer, mountaineer and French lecturer, is the first Frenchwoman to have reached the South Pole and the only woman in the world to have completely crossed the Antarctic continent alone. Former director of the French base Dumont-d’Urville in Terre Adélie, she says: “Today, all my energy is devoted to contributing to knowledge of Antarctica, a continent of unparalleled beauty, but ultimately so fragile. »

World-renowned photographer, the Finnish Tiina Itkonen has accumulated more than 1,500 km of expeditions by dog ​​sled, fishing boat, sailboat, helicopter, etc. along the coasts of West Greenland. What motivates her: “As a female explorer, I try to capture pieces of this arctic beauty with my photos to raise awareness of the fragility of the polar regions. »

Australian Expedition Cyclist, Kate Leeming has already cycled a distance greater than twice the circumference of the Earth. His next challenge: the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent. “Beyond the physical challenges, polar exploration remains a battle of mental resilience. This is where I think women can have an advantage. »

In August 2024, Commander Charcot will welcome a new “Women at the Poles” expedition during a navigation between Svalbard and Iceland. The speakers will be announced shortly.

“Heading for the Thule region”

Kangerlussuaq – Kangerlussuaq, on board The Austral. From August 10 to 26, 202317 days – 16 nights
From €21,240
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“The Geographic North Pole and the Scoresby Sound”

Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen – Reykjavik, aboard the Commander Charcot. From July 26 to August 11, 202417 days – 16 nights
From €36,200
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Catherine Mills Avatar