University Of Tasmania

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Gendered power relations and sexual harassment in Antarctic science in the age of #metoo

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 07:54 authored by Meredith NashMeredith Nash, Hanne NielsenHanne Nielsen
Antarctica is a remote, historically masculine place. It is also a workplace, and the human interactions there are connected to power structures and gendered expectations. Today, more than half early career polar researchers are women. However, women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) are also more likely than men to experience sexual harassment during fieldwork making questions of safety, power, and harassment pertinent. Gender equity initiatives coupled with #MeToo have provided new platforms for reporting sexual harassment and challenging problematic research cultures which position science as meritocratic and gender-neutral. Yet, the impact of #MeToo in Antarctic science is uneven. Following revelations of his harassment of female graduate students in the international media, the termination of Professor David Marchant is widely cited as evidence that #MeToo is positively affecting Antarctic science. We argue it is problematic to focus on individual cases at the expense of the wider culture. We examine the complex historical (e.g. gendered interactions with the Antarctic landscape), cultural (e.g. identity politics), and relational (e.g. gendered power dynamics) tensions underpinning recent #MeToo revelations in Antarctic science with a view to providing more nuanced approaches to structural change.


Publication title

Australian Feminist Studies










Office of the School of Social Sciences, Office of the School of Humanities


Carfax Publishing

Publication status

  • Published

Place of publication

Rankine Rd, Basingstoke, England, Hants, Rg24 8Pr

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Socio-economic Objectives

280123 Expanding knowledge in human society

UN Sustainable Development Goals

5 Gender Equality

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