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Homeward Bound: An all-female expedition to Antarctica

Helena Game

As we write, seventy-six women from around the world are on the largest all-female expedition to Antarctica, and eight of them are Canberra locals.

Led by Australian Leadership activist Fabian Dattner and Research Scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas, Homeward Bound aims to draw attention to the low representation of women in leadership roles in the sciences, and the positive changes that women can make in policy and decision-making processes in the fight for a more sustainable world.

Homeward Bound is currently in its first phase, with an eventual goal over the next ten years to mobilise a total of one thousand women from critical science backgrounds across the world, to help them expand their leadership skills and use their professions as platforms to reinforce the importance of their voices.

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Setting off from Ushuaia, Argentina, the women will be at sea for 20 days before docking in Antarctica, where they will undertake training in leadership skills and will work together to develop solutions for our changing climate.

The ACT women involved in Homeward Bound come from diverse scientific backgrounds, including Claire Hindle, the Regional Operations Officer from the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Ida Kubiszewski, Associate Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and Deborah O’Connell, Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Land and Water.

Claire Hindle says she’s excited for the opportunity, and that to be involved in a program she believes in is incredibly important.

“I am passionate about conservation, sustainable natural resource management and climate change adaptation,” she says. “I am excited about the opportunity to participate in the Homeward Bound program and am looking forward to having the chance to collaborate with scientists around the world.”

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Fabian says Homeward Bound is an important program because female scientists could already be making effective changes to environmental sustainability at the executive level, if they were better represented in leadership roles.

“There is an extraordinary [lack] of women in leadership positions in the area of science.”

“Women leaders could be making a tangible difference in contributing to a more sustainable world, however, women are such a profound minority in decision-making roles, [that] they’re simply left out of opportunities to help shape our future in all arenas.”

The ACT women join others from across Australia, and countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and the USA. Find out more about Homeward Bound here or keep up with their adventures on Instagram.

Have you ever dreamed of visiting the breathtaking and ephemeral scenery of Antarctica?

Homeward Bound is opening their applications this Friday 20  January for their next all-female expedition.

For the next expedition Fabian Dattner, Homeward Bound co-founder, endeavours to reach a much broader cultural diversity of women. This expedition will see 80 female scientists on board, for a longer journey at sea and a tighter focus on gender-specific challenges for women in STEM.

Dattner says, “We already have almost 300 women on the waiting list and are expecting to have over 1,000 applications. We are choosing for courage, visible leadership commitment, spread of professions, ages and culture, openness to learning and commitment to team.”

Apply here: homewardboundprojects.com.au/application.

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Helena Game

Helena is a wannabe journalist studying Communications and Journalism at the University of Canberra. Canberra born and bred, she is hopelessly in love with writing, stories and travel. She recently wrote her way around Japan for a creative writing study tour, and spent another two weeks in the Middle East on a journalism exchange, both of which have left her with a proper case of the post-travel blues. While she plots her next adventure, Helena is hoping to gain as much industry experience as humanly possible, and somehow finish her degree at the same time. More about the Author