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Tackling climate change one woman at a time

15 October 2018

Our world is changing rapidly in a way that is affecting us all.

Mother Nature needs her daughters. Homeward Bound is bringing them together.

An Australian-based initiative, is uniting and empowering a 1000-strong network of women from around the globe to give them the tools they need to make their voices heard in the face of climate change.

The ambitious goal of Homeward Bound was made into reality by Fabian Dattner (prominent Australian leadership expert and partner at Dattner Grant) in collaboration with Jess Melbourne-Thomas (Marine Research Scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division), and subsequently Justine Shaw and Mary-Anne Lea, both Antarctic scientists.

As 1 of 80 women selected into the program this year, Dr Stephanie Gardner is excited for the opportunity to network and work alongside women from all over the globe.

“Homeward Bound is giving us the opportunity to learn how to make our voices heard. It gives us training and resources to translate our goals into action, and heightens our visibility to enable us to influence the outcomes of issues and challenges important to us”

Research shows visibility is often the most important factor for the advancement of women into leadership roles – and in the field of science, research and visibility go hand-in-hand as our ability to alert the world to the risks and solutions for the future of our planet are futile if they do not reach people.

The Program is designed to provide women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) with skills in leadership, strategic planning, visibility and in how to best utilize the different forms of media to build their presence on the international scene related to environmental and climate science.

“My personal and professional goal is to make visible, celebrate, empower and recognise the work that women are doing today, particularly in regards to creating a sustainable future, so together we can inspire in the next generation through leading by example” explains Dr Gardner

“Homeward Bound is a platform where we can make visible global issues of importance such as gender equality and climate change. It’s bringing together a critical mass of women all united with a common interest to change the way we care for our planet – and that will be hard to ignore!”

As young Australian marine biologist at the start of her research career, Dr Gardner feels the training, coaching and lessons she will learn on her Homeward Bound journey will be invaluable throughout her career as a marine scientist.

Dr Gardner was awarded a prestigious Australian Government Endeavour Award to complete a Postdoctoral Research position at the Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC in Barcelona, Spain. Her most recent research trip took her to Moorea, French Polynesia with a team of 11 scientists, most of whom have already been to Antarctica for research.

“It was really special to be with Researchers whose work primarily is undertaken in Antarctica and on voyages that cross the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. I was fortunate to share part of my ‘world’ with them, and later this year I will get to experience their world”.

“I’m still trying to comprehend what a trip to Antarctica will entail and the challenges I may face”

Dr Gardner’s journey as a marine research scientist has only just began and there are no signs of it slowing. “I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love and I’m very passionate about creating a more sustainable future so generations to come are able to enjoy the ecosystems I care so deeply about.”

“Changing the ‘norm’ takes time and seems like a daunting, task. But if everyone does what they can, when they can – that’s how we can collectively change the world.”

With the collective commitment, passion and common goals, Homeward Bound will be making a big impact and have just the tip of the iceberg.

Homeward Bound

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