Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound is a ground-breaking initiative focused on providing women with the tools they need to effectively network, market and engage their communities to make change happen. The project aims to create a network of female scientists who will take the lead in the fight against climate change and work together to have a positive influence in the decision making for our planet.

The project started in 2016 and so far, 331 women from 40 nationalities and 25 scientific fields have joined the network. The challenge? To reach 1,000 women by 2026.

I am thrilled to be one of the 75 women chosen to be part of the fifth cohort. Starting November 2019 we will receive training on leadership, team management, international relationships and project funding, among other topics. The experience will conclude with a 3-week expedition to Antarctica at the end of 2020. As a result of the journey, we will be better equipped and supported to lead for the greater good. In addition to the networking and learning opportunities, the project provides important visibility to the participants through an extensive media coverage. It is critical that we are able to reach and effectively communicate with the appropriate audience to achieve the change that we seek. Although the global media rarely talks about women in science, Homeward Bound has grabbed their attention – to date the project has achieved an audience reach of at least 1 billion people. Let´s keep moving forward!

In the EU 72% of the leadership positions in business are held by men [1]

In several top jobs in the USA women are outnumbered by men named John [2]

One in three girls is afraid to be a leader for fear of others thinking that she is bossy [3] 

At the beginning of 2017 only 15 of 146 countries were governed by women [4]

UNESCO finds that less than 30% of researchers in the world are female [5]

Antarctica is home of the 90% of the planet’s ice. Wild and remote, is an icon of the exploration for the unknown and a place of reference for climate change studies. That is no surprise given that the advance and retreat of Antarctica’s ice influences the globe and that the Antarctic Peninsula has recorded some of the greatest increases in temperature over the last 50 years.

After a year of remote training, the other 74 scientists and I will meet in of the most isolated places on Earth. The expedition will help us develop our leadership skills such as peer-coaching and problem solving while learning about the latest research on climate change and capturing media attention for our cause [BBCForbesTimeHuffPostVogue, etc.]

11 month virtual program taught by leadership experts such as Fabian Dattner and Kit Jackson starting Nov 2019

– 3 week expedition to Antarctica at the end of 2020

Coaching sessions with Human Synergistics 

– Lectures on climate change from academics

Leadership yes but, what it for?

In leadership values have to be clearly defined. These are the 3 main principles I would like to work on during the project

Visibility without value is vanity

Bernard Kelvin Clive  
  • Swarm intelligence: to create a decentralised network, without hierarchy

Working with ants I understood how their survival depends on their ability to organize. Through my PhD I study how a sustainable fishery is based on strategies that promote cooperation. The focus of attention should be placed on the team and not on the leader

  • The power of vulnerability: Stop being who you think you are to start working on who you want to become

Questioning your behaviours and admitting your mistakes. Not being afraid to show emotions. What if that vulnerability you are escaping from is what makes you an authentic and genuine leader?

  • Can you aspire to become something you have never seen?: Increase the visibility of women outside of traditional gender roles

After an expedition to Svalbard, I worked for Education Through Expeditions (ETE) visiting schools. I inspired the youth to consider professional careers that they have never heard before (such as polar scientist) because, can you want to become something that you have never seen? Before my visit, students drew the explorer they were going to meet and after visiting over 50 schools, in almost no case they drew a woman. Can girls be inspired to certain careers without female role models?

[1] Grant Thornton. Women in business: Building a blueprint for action (2019) pag 10

[2] Claire Cain Miller, Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Kat. The top jobs were women are outnumbered by men named John. The New York Times. April 24, 2018

[3] Lisa Hinkelman. The Girls´ Index: New insights into the complex word of today´s girls. Columbus, OH. Ruling our eXperiences Inc

[4] A.W. Geiger and L. Kent. Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they´re still a small group. Pew Research Center. March 8, 2017

[5] UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). Women in Science Fact Sheet. June 2018