In Baffin Bay, off the coast of Greenland, on a research drilling vessel, the JOIDES Resolution, I found myself surrounded by women. What was more surprising is how long it took me to really notice. Not because it wasn’t mentioned, but because of how comfortable it was. We have women scientists who sailed on the ship when they were younger, had families and returned 20 years later. Women in IODP leadership who have been sailing for 20 years. Early career researchers like myself and everything in between.
But it wasn’t necessarily the women who made it feel comfortable – although I like to think we made the trip more personable – it was the men. There wasn’t any experience of being treated different because we were of the ‘gentle’ gender, no question we didn’t belong on a drilling ship.
The simple presence of women is not a war won, numbers can not quantify a feeling of welcome and safety, and it is not only the task of women or within the sole capability of women to create that space. Rather, it is through the combined effort of all, to get to where a ‘normal’ doesn’t exist.
With over 20 nationalities on board, gender wasn’t the barrier, and neither was language. The JOIDES Resolution is a place for passion, whatever your flavour, and it will be a harsh return to reality where equal representation of society is a still a distant hope.
For now, I bask in the unity IODP has managed to create and I’m thankful for those who came before me that fought for this future and take up the mantle to create a better future for those who come after.
Dr. Georgia Grant, GNS Science, New Zealand