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  • BAS want more female recruits

    BAS want more women recruits.

    Today's Sunday Telegraph (17/4/05) has a half page feature on BAS recruitment. It appears that they are trying to positively discriminate in favour of female recruits. To quote a BAS spokeswoman, Athena Dinar; "The recruitment campaign is open to men and women, but this year we are particularly looking to target women", "[BAS] is looking for 5 electricians, 4 carpenters, 5 plumbers, 2 helmsmen/women and 5 steelworkers aged between 18 and 60.".

    The report goes on to report comments by Caroline Lewis who manages support staff. Caroline was at Halley for 4 months in 2002 and again in 2004. She seems to think that women have a civilising effect there. She goes on to add " It is thanks to [women] that on Saturday evenings in the research stations, supper is served on white tablecloths and with wine."

    Now my time down south was long before the first women recruits wintered on bases but we still managed to conduct ourselves in a similar very civilised manner all by ourselves. On both bases I was at, Saturday evening meals were invariably a more formal event for which we always dressed up in out smart clothes. We also had wine with the meal and finished with liqueurs. I will concede the point about tablecloths, we only went that far (+ napkins) at Christmas and Midwinter. After the meal we would all sit down together to watch the evening's entertainment - a cine projection of documentaries or once a month, a current cinema release. Mrs Lewis thinks women will reduce loutish behaviour on bases, but has there ever very much of that? In two seasons, I can only recall two instances of scradge fights that come anywhere close to being called loutish.

    The question of whether BAS would ever overwinter female recruits was often discussed on base but the only data we had on which to base our suppositions was the alleged scandal of 1947 which led us to think it would be a bad idea. We could also see that back in the UK social changes would inevitably lead to female recruits. That happened in 1989 but I don't know if that has led to more problems on base or fewer. Maybe someone with more recent experience can enlighten me.

  • #2
    The positive discrimination part is understandable I guess, but like you Keith, I'm a bit puzzled by the "civilising effect" and also by the Saturday night meals.

    On Signy in the mid 80's every Saturday was as formal a meal as we could manage. The gashman for the day would act as waiter for every-one else and lob the wine for the evening. We didn't use white tablecloths as freshwater was in short supply and unless they were thrown away, it would be wasteful to use them.

    Loutish behaviour? Well blokes together behave differently to when there are women about. My last summer on Signy 86-87 was the first time BAS had sent women down South, a token one turned up on base from first call I think and then there were another two who overwintered (87) - but I never met them as I left mid-season. Did behaviour change? not that I recall - less swearing when females were about, but that happens anywhere, and of course women introduce other tensions that were not there before.

    I just wonder if Mrs. Lewis's stay at Halley wasn't coloured by the fact she was there immediately after the winter and the culture shock that it brings to the winterers. Maybe times have changed with British culture becoming more "laddish" and that has been taken South with recent recruits, but I don't know. But whatever other arguments for more women being specifically recruited there are, the behaviour modification one is certainly interesting and as puzzling to me as it is to Keith.


    • #3
      No, women definitely don't make this place more civilised....

      Was it not just this last saturday night when I saw the female doctor and a female metbabe wrestling ?? And was a chair not broken ?? (accidently I'm sure!!!)

      I think the type of women who winter down here aren't your stereotypical girly girls.

      So come on girls, raise those drums, dig that melt tank, I need to go and wash off my facial scrub.


      • #4
        Well I'm a woman wintering in Antarctica at the moment and don't agree that women make the base more civilised. That's a sexist comment in itself. (That chair was obviously dangerous and at least I broke it in a safe manor). The fact is that everyone is different and assuming someone's character based on their sex alone is a mistake that people make quite often. I'm also not sure why this sort of excuse needs to be made to justify an employment drive.

        What BAS need to do is to is to shed the ?old boys club, Talley ho? image and start recruiting from all walks of life. So any employment drive is good for BAS, since it advertises that these jobs exist and that you don?t have to be a scientist smoking on his pipe to come here.

        Oi and Craig, the freebees from the Comso are mine? I clearly need them more than you do.


        • #5
          Hi Craigy and franck and welcome to the board.

          It's particularly good to get people posting who are down South at the moment. Also good to hear that Cosmo is still provided!

          I imagine the women recruits is some tick-box thing from NERC or government target of x% by 2007 or something similar.

          What's the balance of male / female on Halley at the moment. Oh, also, how are you taking the news of Halley VI? It's been quite prominent on the news here (well it is summer).


          • #6
            Yes, Cosmo is well fought over at the beginning of each month since the only other magazines we seem to be recieving this year are photography mags... all well and good, but not that interesting to read.

            This year 4 out of 16 Halley fids are girls... but next year the VLF job is being dropped so they'll be only 15 wintering and we're looking at 6 girls. A record for Halley so far: a Doctor, 2 MetBabes, a Chef, an Electronic Engineer and a Chippy!!! So the bathroom will be very full :sad: but I'm getting some face packs and chick flicks sent in, so lots of fun to be had. :grin:

            As for Halley VI, it's all very interesting, but none of us will ever see it, and only two of us will be around in the 06/07 summer to see any building going on (?)

            On another note, my dad managed to get a letter in the Times - on the 18/07 I think... about me not being able to read the new Harry Potter until the post comes in ... much more interesting press!!


            • #7
              i am glad to hear that Cosmo is still sent south. the scratch and sniff were always prized when the new lot of mags came out.... are the girls still using the small single shower, loo in the main platform or has it been enlaged??? in my time at Z5, no women winterintg, this loo was used as the smokers den as it was the only room with an extractor fan... getting it cleaned up ready for the summer was a majour job for the smokers.


              • #8
                Good to hear from an ex-winterer (I'll look you up on the dinning room wall photos at lunch).
                Yes, we've still got a little bathroom!!! The toilet has a lockable cubicle, the shower's next to that, there's one sink, a half-step I keep on falling down and a couple of shelves full of the bases Tampon mountain -it's not like BAS to over order some things and under order others is it??? (we have a definite risk of running out of tea again before the winter's out, which would be disastrous). So it does four wintering girls (we never lock the room, and just use it as a communal bathroom), but gets a little busy on a pre-dinner Saturday evening.

                I think the smoker?s toilet you're talking about (I could be wrong) are the South Toilets. I know they used to be used for smoking in. But there's no smoking on the platform now, I just passed our chippy having a fag out in a 40knot blow on my way to the Simpson this morning. One guy?s given up smoking all together. I avoid the south toilets at all costs since there was a plumbing disaster last year and I don't think the smell has ever gone away.

                If you're interested the WBC here's put a plan of the base on his weblog
       and gives a general idea of what we're up to.


                • #9
                  hi. that was a quick reply. no it was not the south loo but the one you are all using now. interesting topic.... I am nearly the exact oposit temp wise 33 deg to day,I am now based in Turkey. Make the most of the experiance down south. It changed my life and the friends I made during my time with BAS are some of my best. thanks for the link to your WBC's page. I like to keep an eye on how things are going down south. Halley 6 even made it on to the BBC world service so you are being talked about at the moment. The internet access I am sure has made a big impact. Have a good remander of your winter.


                  • #10
                    hiya craigy,francis
                    I'm with craig on this one.
                    I think everyone down there knows my opinion on this one.The more women involved on the base the more tension in the air.I for one would like to see it back to the old days,men is my opinion only .No dis respect to the women there or venturing forth in the future.
                    In this day of sexual "freedom"us blokes still have to be carefull in what we say or do and in a confined environment like halley this can and do get heated.We don't give it a second thought but we MAY upset the females.
                    Yeah yeah chauvinist pig,but space is limited down there and to have separate facilities for the two sexes(and craigy)is pushing the space.
                    Sorry if i upset people ,but if you need a better explanation please mail me.


                    • #11
                      During my time south winters 92,93,94 we only had singel sex winterers. my last winter at Halley was i think the last only guys. I can not coment on girls wintereing. only for the summer there were some girls. this was an interesting/dificult situation to take in after being so long on our own. I was amazed with my own personal reactions on meeting a femail after so long living in a totaly male enviroment. i would think that this was a unique situation. i know that NASA were funding some of the medical research that was carried out on us over the winter with a mind on long stays on space staations/a mars trip.......


                      • #12
                        Re: BAS want more female recruits

                        This is great info. So what is the current number of male and female winterers?