Mother Nature Needs Her Daughters
I am thrilled and proud to have be selected as one of 80 women from around the world to take part in Homeward Bound 2019. This is a one-year leadership programme that runs throughout 2018 and culminates in a three-week expedition to Antarctica in January 2019. I have always sought out new adventures and this one involves exploring a new continent, seeing the issues I work on in one of the places on earth where the impacts are most amplified, and learning new skills to help me be part of the solution.
Homeward Bound emerged from the recognition of the extraordinary paucity of women in leadership positions generally, and in STEMM specifically, and the cost of this in terms of the quality of decision making and the health of our communities and our planet. In Ireland less than 25% of people working in STEMM are women. One hundred years on from winning the vote in 1918 – Irish women still have a long way to go to fully play their part in shaping society. Research shows that women have great integrity when making decisions around money and resources, and that they can be trusted to act for the greater good, collaborate and be more inclusive These are attributes most people would like to see reflected in decision-making at local, national and international level and they are critical attributes for an inclusive and sustainable society.
Homeward Bound is a 10-year outreach initiative designed to reach 1000 women over 10 years, and in doing so, promote women with a science background into leadership positions or enhance their influence towards the sustainability of our planet and the greater good of all people. The first expedition took place in 2016 and the second leaves for Antarctica in February 2018. I will be part of the third voyage when the number of women participating reaches almost 250.
For me, as an environmental scientist, this means having access to leadership, visibility and communications training as well as the chance to learn more about planetary science, the Antarctic continent and the threats it faces. I want to become more effective at communicating my messages of hope and opportunity to a wider audience; to mobilise the transformation we need to make in all of our lives. I also want to be a more effective advocate for women who have less access the decision-making than I have and whose voices, knowledge and experience need to be heard if we are to chart an inclusive and ultimately effective course to a sustainable future.
As the first woman living in Ireland to take part in Homeward Bound I am honoured and excited about the opportunity the leadership programme presents and hope other Irish women will be part of the 1,000 women Homeward Bound supports to reach their full potential. Women make the decisions at household level that determine their families’ footprint on the planet; tapping into this power and getting more women in science and technology into leadership positions has the potential to transform how we manage our economies and societies.
You can watch my application video here and I will share more along my journey #TeamHB2019.