Science + Women + leadership = A sustainable future

By Ines M Melendez

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Science and gender equality are both vital to achieve a sustainable future for our planet (United Nations). By equipping women with state-of-the art leadership skills and climate change science, we can become change makers, to balance the imbalance while caring for the planet's future.


The issue (or part of it)

Sadly, globally women remain underrepresented in leadership positions, efforts have been made to close the gender gap, however numbers are showing that at this rate we are more than 200 years away to rich gender parity. In STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) less than 25% of the executive and decision-making roles are occupied by women. Advancing female talent into senior leadership positions should be a major priority for research and industry sectors alike. We know women leaders inspire and take action to materially close the gender gap, allowing effective collaboration and more inclusive work-environments to be established, because they genuinely care for people and resources around. I want to lead and inspire others but the probabilities seems to predict that in my lifetime only 1 in 4 women will get to those decision-making roles. Will I be one of those?

Keep reading, your help will help to change the odds to see many more female leaders in the near future.

The good news:

I am a passionate Geochemist -the odd and only scientist in all my large family- born and bred in Venezuela, and now working as a Geoscientist in Perth, Australia. I am passionate not only about science, but also against social inequalities and stereotypes.

That is why I am extremely privileged and excited to have been selected as one of 80 women from around the world to take part in Homeward Bound 2019, a ground-breaking leadership initiative. This amazing program aims to train 1000-women with leadership and strategic skills and how to apply those to ensure our environment is protected. Homeward Bound alumnae will form an incredibly strong network of smart-passionate female scientists, capable of climbing the highest positions of the leadership ladder while impacting the policies and decisions that shape our planet. The program provides a 12 months of leadership training and culminates with a 3-weeks expedition to Antarctica, where intensive training will take place. We will learn how to become better leaders, how to design, measure and execute strategies and more importantly we will be educated about climate and polar science. All of this will happen in the backdrop of Antarctica, a region showing amongst the fastest responses to climate change in the planet, providing critical insights into global-scale change.

To me homeward bound is a great opportunity to tackle diversity and inclusion in science while capacitating female scientists on the most medullar issues that affect our society: effective leadership and climate change. I want a brighter future for the generations to come, we can’t spare a second, we have to maximize our efforts to act now and promote long-lasting changes, because we are #StrongerTogether.

How can you help?

To accomplish this life-changing adventure I need your help: The cost of the program is around AUD 40,000 per women. Homeward bound covers approximately half of it. However, I still require AUD 20,000 to cover the remaining costs, flights, accommodation, insurance and polar equipment required at “el fin del mundo” (the end of the world).

Can you help me to see the snow for the first time while getting the best training in leadership possible?

Through my journey developing world class leadership capabilities and putting them into action I hope to become a role model and encourage other women and girls to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

Any contribution you could make to help me to reach this goal is extremely appreciated and, if I happen to raise more than I need, I will donate the excess funds to the Homeward Bound scholarships.

"We need to encourage and support girls and women achieve their full potential as scientific researchers and innovators. It’s time to support and invest in them." — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres


Photos © Oli Sansom / Homeward Bound

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Ines M Melendez

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