The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

Before Jane Goodall there was Anne Innis Dagg. Her research on giraffe’s was groundbreaking and so was her fight for women’s equality in science. In 1956, she made her first trip to South Africa to study giraffes in their natural habitat, which was captured on a 16mm camera by documentary filmmaker, Alison Reid. Travelling alone as a 23-year-old biologist to study animal behaviour in the wild was almost unheard of at the time, especially for a young woman. She followed the strict standards of non-interference and non-interaction and eventually published her work in the world’s most prestigious research journals. Her book, The Giraffe, is still considered “the Bible” on the species. This, however, was not enough to launch her career as a researcher. She was even denied tenure at the University of Guelph in 1972, a position she required as a woman to become a professor.

 

In addition to her unprecedented research, she also spent years “working to advance the representation of women in university faculties”, according to this Tyee article. She went up against the “old boys” network and helped create a sustainable career path for all, and not just some.  

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