The Ministry of Equality recently facilitated a live virtual presentation by the Antarctic fire Angels to Notre Dame Lower Primary School.
The Antarctic Fire Angels are an all-female team of three firefighters who are preparing to ski 1,130 kilometres from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in November 2023. This journey will be unassisted and unsupported, pulling 85+ kg pulks (supply sleds) in temperatures as low as -50c with possible wind speeds of over 60mph in approximately 45 days. If successful, the attempt will be a world’s first as this has never been achieved by an Emergency Services team before.
The aim of the expedition is to challenge gender stereotypes and to be visible role models to women and girls.
The presentation by Georgina Gilbert, one of the Antarctic Fire Angels, to 95 Year 2 pupils at Notre Dame, was enthusiastically received. Georgina described the conditions in the Antarctic and their training efforts in Norway to date showing photos and videos to the children. The material covered by the presentation was very relevant to and contributed to the children’s understanding of certain topics such as learning about the weather, continents, human needs and human survival covered in their Geography lessons. Additionally, the presentation also supported the school’s work on teaching children to be resilient especially when faced with adversity and it tied in perfectly with the school’s motto which is ‘Dream, believe, achieve.’ At the end of the presentation the children were able to ask Georgina questions about the expedition. They also had the opportunity to wear firefighter helmets which were kindly loaned to the school for the occasion by Nicky Viñales Senior Fire Officer at Airport Fire and Rescue Service.
In order to support the Antarctic Fire Angels expedition, the school organised a fund-raiser, collecting a total of £350. The event was led by the Year 2 coordinator and proved to be a great success with pupils responding very positively; being inspired to develop a confident mindset and believe anything is possible if they set their mind to it. The importance of teamwork, something often discussed in different learning contexts within school, has also been modelled by the Antarctic Fire Angels in a most dynamic and extraordinary manner.
The Hon Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento MP, said, ‘The Antarctic Fire Angels have set themselves no mean feat. Their expedition to ski to the South Pole is a hugely ambitious one and powerfully disrupts traditional gender roles. I think that it is extremely important for all young children to have positive visible role models and for young girls in particular to see that they can aspire to any career or profession. Regrettably, we do not yet have women in the fire services in Gibraltar so this, in a way, helps to address that invisibility. I am therefore very grateful that the Ministry of Equality has been able to facilitate this opportunity to showcase female firefighters and adventurers. I am sure that an event like this will leave an indelible impression on the children and remind them that nothing should prevent them from fulfilling their potential and dreams.’