The Boreal summer is in full swing up north, so this week we are featuring some of the responses from our #FemFieldAdvice survey! Keep an eye on Twitter – we’ll be posting more throughout the day and helping to amplify others’ advice, too!
Michelle Lavery (@JMichelleLavery)
Feminine wipes and micellar water/face wipes can keep you feeling human when showers are few and far between. Also, never feel ashamed for asking about the field facilities in detail before you leave, so you know how to plan your period products, etc. Sometimes privacy is scarce or situations are challenging, and being prepared for that can help save you the discomfort of being surprised.
Sydney K. Brannoch (@skbrannoch)
1.) P-styles/go-girls/she-wees are your friend– the p-style has vastly improved my fieldwork experience; 2.) Sweat-wicking bras and panties are great and keep you feeling cool and not sopping if you are out in the hot weather all day — plus they are easy to wash in a sink and will dry in a few hours; 3.) Invest in a couple of great field pants — I am obsessed with Duluth Trading Co.’s “Fire hose” and “Dry on the Fly” as their pants fit wonderfully and are comfortable, have tons of useful fieldwork pockets, and they are good quality and not terribly expensive; 4.) Have a menstruation plan that works with your fieldwork site; 5.) Bring wet wipes!
Amy Hruska (@ecologist_amy)
1. Women’s field/hiking pants lack pockets. It’s cool to own men’s pants, fanny packs, or canvas vests (or all 3!) to make up for the lack of awesome pockets.
2. Menstrual cups can be life savers, just figure them out before you’re stuck with them in the field. It’s humorous enough to learn in the comforts of your own bathroom.
3. Post field work food should include chips and salsa. Just trust me.
Merryl Gelling (@SpiresEcology)
Slings, carriers, rucksacks. Explore what works for you, then get back out into the field as much (or as little) as you want to, as soon as you want to. My first daughter did numerous surveys with me, and my new baby will be coming out very soon. Things take a little longer but I feel empowered by pursuing what I do best, being outdoors improves my mental well-being, and the baby sleeps so well in and after so much fresh air, so everyone benefits.
Alexandra Zachwieja (@aj_zach)
Do some research on the country you are going to re. availability of feminine hygiene products but also on the culture on appropriate attire. 1. you may have to pack in/out all of your feminine products for a prolonged season if those are unavailable (I work in Laos, my preferences aren’t). 2. Learning about the culture will help you dress appropriately and be respected when you meet with male officials/team members, even in the field (i.e. Is modesty important? Should you wear pants/sleeves/scarf even though its over 100 degrees?).
Rachel Skubel (@rachelskubel)
My number one strategy is a positive attitude, even when it seems impossible. Look for the upsides, and don’t be afraid to get a little (professionally) silly with your colleagues when you need an injection of levity – a well timed science pun is an excellent strategy, and anyone who’s been with me in the field can attest to my zeal for this. Of course, you have to be honest when things turn south, but you can ALWAYS choose the optimistic path instead of letting pessimism take over. There is only so much energy to go around, and negativity is an unnecessary drain on everyone. And also – Believe in yourself! Fieldwork, like any other (research) activity, is the culmination of your own careful planning, diligence, and commitment. Just like any other part of your work, you will be presented with unexpected challenges (and successes), but remember with proper preparation, and allowing yourself time for reflection, most obstacles can be surmounted and leveraged.
Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar (@beepunstings)
Store extra tampons/pads/diva cups/weapon-of-choice in every possible location. It can be hard to remember to replenish your stash after a long day of fieldwork when you’re feeling extra tired from your period. If you don’t menstruate, do it anyway so you can back up other women. 🙂