Empower Diversity In STEMM: Jeanette's Homeward Bound Journey

By Jeanette McConnell

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Fund one. Inspire many.

I am asking for your support toward my participation in Homeward Bound - a year long leadership program for women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, medicine) culminating in a 3 week trip to Antarctica. Each of the women participating needs to raise approximately $20,000 to cover all the costs associated with the year long program and the expedition to Antarctica.

By supporting my journey, you will:

  • Enable me to share this experience with the next generation of STEMM leaders.

  • Enhance the visibility of women and LGBTQ+ people in STEMM.

  • Bring education to our students about the dire situation of climate change and what they can do about it

Ever since my first experience of gender inequality (when I was not allowed to play football with the boys in 4th grade) women's equality has been a passion of mine. And as I grew to become both a scientist and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I began to understand the intersectionality of oppressions and the need for action. I have been given the chance to create change, and I need your help.

This is about so much more than just me - or even the other 100 women going on this journey with me.

This is about empowering the next generation of diverse STEMM leaders to create a sustainable future.


1. Women are not equally represented in STEMM or leadership positions.

Women’s voices need to be heard and counted as we make decisions that impact the future of our planet.

For that to happen women need to have equal representation in STEMM and in leadership positions.

Currently women are significantly underrepresented in the STEMM fields and are vastly underrepresented in leadership positions.

Only 24% of STEMM jobs are held by women, only 11% of top academic positions are occupied by women and only 3% of scientific nobel prizes have been awarded to women.

As we advocate for equality in gender representation in STEMM and leadership we need your support to make equality a reality.

2. Our Earth is in trouble.

The decisions and actions of our leaders, both past and present, have induced a significant climate change on our Earth.

This is not a debate, but rather a wake up call. The activity of humans is damaging the Earth.

The increased levels of CO2 in our atmosphere are causing temperature increases, acidification of the oceans, drought, and a dangerous rise in the sea level.

We need leaders willing to put the health of the Earth first and make long-term decisions.

We need to educate our young people with this future-thinking mindset so they are able to make policy decisions that lead us toward a sustainable planet.

Image: NASA

3. Diversity is the path to innovation and a better future.

Research shows that increased diversity leads to a more successful outcome.

A more diverse team is more innovate, more creative and more collaborative. That is the type environment needed to create and implement new strategies that can lead us toward a more sustainable future.

In order to develop more diversity in leadership and STEMM our young people need to see that diversity. We need visibility.

Girls need to see and interact with women in STEMM. Minorities need to see themselves reflected in those who hold positions of power.


1. Increased visibility of diversity in STEMM.

Our young people are subjected to a narrow idea of who a STEMM professional is and what they look like. We will change this. We will expand the traditional narrative of what it means to be a STEMM professional through increased visibility of women in STEMM.

Homeward Bound is in the process of strategically upskilling 1000 women in STEMM, over a period of 10 years, who will each use their unique position to promote the visibility of women in STEMM.

Specifically, I will use my passion for and participation in education to become a highly visible example of a Queer Woman in STEMM.

The first step I will take is for every $500 I raise I will go into a school and share the experience of the Homeward Bound Journey with those students. Bringing with me an example of how each of those students can succeed in STEM.

2. Accessible education about STEMM careers and climate change.

As the women who are a part of Homeward Bound, myself included, become more visible we will be empowered to educate our communities about the dangers of climate change and how STEMM is the key to creating a sustainable future.

My personal mission is to bring these concepts - the importance of diversity in STEMM and the need for action on climate change - to a wide audience of students and educators.


Homeward Bound is the program that will enable me to achieve my why and how. The experience will provide me, and 1000 other women, the skills and confidence we need to become leaders in our community and drive positive change.

1. Leadership development.

Research consistently shows that while women demonstrate great integrity and a legacy mindset when it comes to leadership, decision making and the creation of effective team efforts they are overwhelmingly under-represented in the traditionally male-dominated fields.

The year long program is designed to connect me and the other women of the Homeward Bound Project with strategic, high-quality leadership training.

We will leave with the strategic know-how to execute our visions and to inspire others to do the same.

2. Antarctica trip!

Antarctica is one of the regions on our planet that is most affected by climate change. It is a vast, awe-inspiring and yet threatened area of our would.

These characteristics make Antarctica the perfect backdrop for us to explore and ask tough questions about the future of our planet, role of women in STEMM, and the need for diversity in leadership.

The year Homeward Bound program culminates in a 21-day intensive journey to Antarctica where our group of 100 women will work together to discuss and plan our action strategies to achieve our visions.

Until the 1980s women were not allowed to travel to Antarctica because it was believed they could not withstand the harsh climate - so it is also fitting that this will be the largest ever expedition of women to Antarctica.

Through your support all this is made possible.

Explore more about the Homeward Bound Project.

Still curious? I would love to chat with you.

You can email me here: drjeanettemcconnell@gmail.com

You an find me on twitter here: https://twitter.com/Jeanettescience

You can find me on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanettemcconnell/

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Jeanette McConnell