From USA News:
Colin Bull began fighting in 1959 to get the U.S. Navy to allow women scientists to go to Antarctica, and kept it up until he won, a decade later. He couldn't understand the Navy's reluctance.
Eventually the Navy relented, and allowed women scientists onto the continent in 1969. Bull, then director of Ohio State University's Institute of Polar Studies, assembled an all-women scientific research team that arrived in Antarctica in October 1969, for a four-month research expedition. The following month, they also became the first women to step onto the South Pole.
Today about a third of the Antarctic scientists are women. Hundreds of women have worked in the program, some of them leading research stations and heading major expeditions. More than 50 are working at the South Pole during the 2009-2010 summer season.
The Navy, which had established McMurdo Station, the main American base in Antarctica, as a military outpost in 1956, had been adamant at the time. They would not transport women onto the continent. The National Science Foundation, which funded the program, did not challenge Navy policy.