Invest in future women leaders for climate change

By Purvi Gupta

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Climate change affects gender differently

For example, in countries like India, Laos, Somalia, Nigeria, women bear the main burden of water collection. The distances travelled, especially in unprotected areas, to get water and the lack of safe, private toilets make women and girls more vulnerable to violence. This slows or halts education of girls and takes time away from income-generating activities. It keeps women from being empowered. For example, in Dengalmal, a village in India, men have two or three wives solely to ensure that the household has enough water to drink and cook - called the ‘water wives’.

Women have an important role to play in making this planet sustainable

Even though there is an increasing recognition of differential impact of climate change, the role of women as leaders and agents of change in climate action and management of natural resources is often overlooked in climate negotiations, investments and policies. For example, IRENA study estimates that women account for only 20-25% per cent of the workforce in the modern renewable energy sector, and a 2015 study covering 881 environmental sector ministries from 193 countries found only 12 per cent of the ministers were women.

Homeward Bound is preparing the future women leaders of climate change

Conceptualized by Fabian Dattner, leadership expert and Jess Melbourne Thomas, marine biologist, the program envisages building a 1000-women strong global network in 10 years. It aims to bring the voice and agency of these women to the centre of the discussion on climate management and policy making. The program culminates in a 3 week field trip to Antarctica in Feb 2018 - possibly the largest such all women expedition! For more details, check out: Homeward Bound website. It was extensively covered by media in 2016 by CNN, BBC News, Herald Sun, The Independent, NY Live and others.

Homeward Bound will cover 60% of the cost of my participation and I need to raise the funds for the rest. Estimated cost breakdown of funds raised is: Ship for 21 nights & Ushuaia travel: £10,000, Admin, Ship & ground: £2,500, Operations, faculty & PR: £2000, Contigency & Misc: £500

Regions of Antarctica showing fastest responses to climate change seen anywhere on the planet

The snowy landscapes of Antarctica act as a backdrop for our journey because of the critical role this continent plays in the climate system. Antarctica is a launch pad for this unique initiative, world’s first of its kind – there have been also before all-women expeditions to the southern seas but never this scale; and never focused on leadership development.

Support me on this year long journey with 80 women from across the globe

Growing up in India, my father always encouraged me to aim for the sky! I studied biotechnology engineering at IIT Madras, worked at GlaxoSmithKline’s global and regional offices, pursued my MBA degree from INSEAD and now, I work at McKinsey’s London office. My journey till date has taken me from Delhi to London, onwards to Mumbai, Singapore and France. Along the way, I have developed a strong interest in emerging economies, healthcare and education, especially for women in science and engineering.

  • Being born and brought up in India, I am aware of the need for economic development and its undesirable side effects on our climate
  • I am a great believer in diversity and global collaboration, which have the potential to alleviate some of the most pressing issues facing us such as climate change and gender inequality

Through the year, I aim to bring my story and develop engaing content on gender parity and climate change such as community talks. I see Homeward Bound as the foundation of my vision to motivate more girls and women to pursue higher education, especially in science and engineering. I am very excited about the possibilities of the year ahead and what I could achieve with your support!

Please help me secure my place in this program!

If you are looking for more information, please check out my website, follow me on journey or contact me directly at [email protected]

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Purvi Gupta