I have the honour and joy of being selected to participate in the Homeward Bound initiative, which is going to establish a network of 1,000 women scienfic leaders from all over the world to work for the greater good of our planet. Why it is so important? Let me explain to you a little bit more...
What is Homeward Bound?
It is a revolutionary project that aims to train —within ten years—1,000 women scientists worldwide in collaborative leadership, to form a powerful network of scientific women leaders who work for a more egalitarian society that relates more respectfully with nature. The main objectives of the Homeward Bound participants are to improve in gender equality and to fight against climate change.
Homeward Bound is in the 5th edition (# TeamHB5), in which 75 women from all over the world have been selected to participate. The program is an intensive one-year course in collaborative leadership and scientific communication, taught online by the best professionals from around the world, culminating in a three-week congress-expedition to Antarctica. After the training period, Homeward Bound scientists continue to work on projects that improve our future.
We, women, are more than half of the people, but we are underrepresented in all positions of leadership and decision-making. We are currently 60% of university graduates, but we only occupy 10-20% of important academic positions. In decision making, we do not reach 15%.
It is proved that having more diverse teams improves the outcomens of any activity —particularly, science—, so it is clear that improving gender equality in decision-making will make us get better solutions to the current environmental crises.
Therefore, training Homeward Bound participants in leadership skills, visibility and strategy, in a team with a deep scientific knowledge and a common purpose of building a strong work network will improve the ability of these scientists to lead by a common good and achieve a great impact on decision-making focused on a more sustainable future.
Science plays a key role in solving social and environmental problems and building a better future. Therefore, Homeward Bound aims to improve the visibility and communication and impact capacity of women working in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine). In addition to the great gender inequality in leadership in this general, women working in STEMM face specific challenges that make it difficult for them to advance in the scientific career. Yet, women leaders with STEMM background are essential to develop and conduct projects that will help humans to interact more balancedly with nature.
The habitats of Antarctica are the most sensitive to current environmental crises, where the impact of climate change is most appreciated. Therefore —and taking into account that there are no native humans there— Homeward Bound participants will become ambassadors in defense of Antarctica and a future in which humans can relate to nature in a more balanced way.
In addition, the three-week Antarctic expedition, in which the 75 participants will work together —with international figures of the relevance of Musimbi Kanyoro and Christiana Figueres as teachers on board the ship— is a key point of the training on leadership. Learning and working so many women, with intersidisplinary backgrounds and different ages and nationalities, inside a boat under extreme conditions in the most remote and fragile environment of Earth will provide them with a life-changing traning experience that will largerly reinforce their leadership habilities.
Finally, it is important to note that we are aware that traveling to Antarctica generates a strong environmental impact, and that is why our trip is organized to pollute as little as possible, reducing, reusing and recicling everything, and offsetting all carbon dioxide emissions that cannot be reduced through programs of compensation.