Homeward Bound: Female STEMM Crusaders for our Planet's Future

By Elaine Huber

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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Women in STEMM

My name is Elaine Huber and I am passionate about STEMM education. STEMM is science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine disciplines and they typically attract more males than females. I want to change this - for the daughters, nieces, sisters and women in our lives. My vision is to see equality in leadership positions so that women can bring their voice to the decision making that affects our natural world. To tackle wicked problems such as climate change, we need to think and act differently.

There are significant amounts of critical research available to show women have greater integrity, more emotional intelligence and are more inclusive leaders, fostering a sense of community strength and wellbeing. In addition, female leaders are shown to have a strong legacy mindset and are more trustworthy when making decisions around money, resources and assets.

What is Homeward Bound and how is it making a difference?

Homeward Bound is a global leadership initiative that aims to network and upskill 1000 women with a STEMM background over the next 10 years. I have been selected to take part in the 4th cohort of 100 women in 2019. The 12 month program will provide us with leadership, strategic and communication capabilities to help promote women into decision-making positions affecting policy around the sustainability of our planet. It culminates in a 3 week expedition to Antarctica.

Homeward Bound recognises the many barriers contributing to the low representation of women in leadership positions – these include family commitments like taking time off work to have children, the lack of visible female mentors and role models in leadership positions, and discrimination and bias that occur in the workplace.

"Gender equality isn’t a female issue, it’s a human issue"
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

It is really important for our youth - both male and female - to observe female role models and leaders as this is key to changing perceptions. Whilst the expression 'If she can see it, she can be it' was coined by the actress Gina Davis and referenced gender equity in the media, it holds true to the workplace too.

Homeward Bound is an all-female expedition to draw attention to, and improve, the low representation of women in leadership positions in STEMM disciplines. Currently, less than 26% of the world's researchers are women and even fewer are in leadership roles.

Why Antarctica?

Image: Natalia Melcer HB2016 participant

Antarctica is not the focus, but the picture-frame for Homeward Bound. Antarctica represents the relative fragility of the natural world, but it is also an environment that can provide us with a lot of information about what’s happening on a global scale. Antarctica provides us with early warnings about climate change. Antarctica is also a spellbindingly beautiful and largely unseen part of our world. It inspires both awe and commitment, and provides the perfect environment needed for immersion in a program like Homeward Bound.

**Support One, Inspire Many**

Here is how you can help me:

I pledge to inspire, support and mentor young women making their way in or towards a career in STEMM. There is of course a cost for achieving my vision.

While the expedition is generously subsidised by Homeward Bound, this exciting project is largely self-funded, where all participants who believe in the project’s vision are buying-in. The total cost of my Homeward Bound Program is approximately US$31,000 (AU$42,000) of which AU$19,000 is funded through in-kind support from Homeward Bound program sponsors. A further AU$5,000 is also needed to cover travel, insurance and Arctic clothing.

So far, I have personally secured philanthropic sponsorship of AU$20,000 and I am planning to raise the remaining funds (approx AU$8,000) via this page. Check out what I can offer you in return for your support, in the right hand side bar.

Any contribution, big or small is greatly appreciated and will help to support this incredible project and my involvement.

About me:

I am an associate professor in the University of Sydney in Australia. I am a lifelong learner who embraces change and loves a challenge. As a young woman from Liverpool (UK), I studied at Surrey University and worked as an electrical engineer, but knew my passion lay elsewhere. I moved to Japan and became a teacher, and cultivated my love of travel, cultures and the great outdoors. Another career change has led me into academia, innovating the curriculum through the integration of technologies. I want to be a role model for my two children and a mentor for young women considering a STEMM career. I also want to inspire and support other women in STEMM to reach their potential and help change the world for the better.

Please contact me via any of the following channels:




[email protected]

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Elaine Huber