Daughters of Antarctica #HomewardBound2019

By Mia Cerfonteyn

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Women can solve climate change

Women only make up a third of delegation leaders during UN climate proceedings. In science, senior researchers are still predominantly male. 

The UN reported in 2010: "In countries where women have advanced, the economy has always been steady, but in contrast, in countries where women have been restricted, the economy has been stagnant".

With the dire consequences of climate change looming ahead we can no longer afford to isolate and disconnect the female half of the human race. It is time for women to stand together and help humanity rekindle its nurturing relationship with nature.

Reluctant to become a leader

Many women lack the confidence and skills to pursue more senior leadership positions. I have an extensive scientific background in ecology, but I don’t know the first thing about visibility and strategic planning.

Having worked in male-dominated environments throughout my career, I have a deep understanding of the issues female scientists face and why female representation is crucial to push for solutions. 

Let's Educate!

I was selected for the Homeward Bound 2019 cohort for female leadership training in science. I will be a part of their 3rd Antarctic voyage in December 2018. Homeward Bound has already made headlines with their largest ever female expedition (76 women!) to Antarctica in 2016 and has created a network of fantastic female scientists, with the end goal of training ONE THOUSAND women for leadership positions. These are some inspiring women!


Why Antarctica and why me?

I studied Zoology in South Africa where I grew up and did my research on a sub-Antarctic island, Marion Island. This year I moved to Iceland to do my PhD in Marine Ecology. 

I have experienced the most pristine, breathtaking places on our planet and it's a sad story when they are the first to suffer due to humanity's activities. Polar ecosystems are the canaries in the coal mines when it comes to climate change.

My impact

My end-goal is to set up workshops and seminars for ‘Women in STEMM’ and pass on the skills I have learned during this training. I also hope to inspire young women to pursue science with my experiences in the Antarctic by talking at schools. This will be done mainly in Iceland from 2019-2020, but hopefully also in South Africa when I get the opportunity to travel home.

You can join us

Going to Antarctica is very expensive and my portion of the program will cost $16 000. I’m a PhD student, my personal funds are very limited and I would prefer not to go into debt. Please help me! Your donation is a step for an early career scientist on her way to the top and I will keep you updated on my journey there.

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Team Members

Mia Cerfonteyn

Janine de Witt