Eight Unsung Women Explorers
Behind many of the world’s best adventures is a female explorer who didn’t experience the fame that some other adventurers get. Sure, you’ve heard of Amelia Earhart, but have you heard of any of the following eight ground-breaking women?
In May 1995, Hargreaves broke two huge barriers: She climbed Mount Everest without the help of oxygen or a Sherpa.
A month later, Hargreaves was killed in a violent storm while attempting to climb K2, one of the world’s most inhospitable mountains.
She had climbed other mountains while heavily pregnant, and she faced down criticism from some who said that a mother should not put herself in danger. In doing so, she braved a path for other female climbers.
After becoming the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930, the pioneering aviator went on to set a slew of long-distance flying records, including flying from London to Moscow in 21 hours in 1931.
In 1932, Johnson married famous Scottish pilot Jim Mollison, who had, during a flight together, proposed to her only eight hours after they met. Johnson went on to break many of her husband’s flight records.
Johnson died after going off-course in bad weather while transporting RAF aircraft around the country for the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II.
When she broke the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2005, Ellen MacArthur was not just the best woman, but the best period, in the sport.
Her achievements helped quash prejudices about women’s inferiority in long-distance sailing.
After retiring from competition in 2010, Ellen announced the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity set up to inspire people to re-think, re-design and build a sustainable future.
Harriet Chalmers Adams
Adams was the first president of the Society of Woman Geographers (founded in 1925) and was regarded as the foremost woman explorer of her time.
Despite having no formal schooling, Adams was an avid reader and decided to follow the trails of Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors. She traveled to almost every Latin American country that had ever been under the dominion of Spain or Portugal.
She had many articles published in National Geographic magazine and lectured widely. Serving as a war correspondent for Harper’s magazine in 1916, Harriet was the only woman allowed to visit the trenches in France.
Bell was an English writer, traveler, political wheeler-and-dealer and archeologist who explored the Middle East in the 19th century. She played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq, utilizing her unique perspective from her travels and relations with tribal leaders throughout the Middle East.