How do we get women in climate leadership?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that in 2018, most of the natural hazards which affected nearly 62 million people were associated with extreme weather and climate. Floods continue to affect the largest number of people, more than 35 million globally. Hurricanes are becoming billion-dollar disasters and the exposure of agriculture to climate extremes is threatening food security.
At a time when the IPCC State of the Climate report shows impacts accelerating, you'd expect to see political leadership, especially in an advanced country like Australia where our land and economy are particularly vulnerable.
The need for women to fill the leadership void is more urgent than ever. Currently, less than 26 per cent of the world's researchers are women and even fewer are in leadership roles, which leads to unbalance and clearly is a great loss in decision-making.
Homeward Bound aims to address this imbalance by building over 10 years, a network of 1000 women working together to create innovative changes. It is a 12-month leadership program that gives women in science the skills, knowledge and confidence to become leaders and make decisions that will help shape our planet.
It culminates in a three-week workshop in Antarctica where future female leaders will brainstorm climate change and gender equity in leadership roles.
Antarctica has been chosen because over the last 50 years it has experienced some of the greatest warming on Earth, making it one of the most affected ecosystems due to human-induced climate change. It is a wild and isolated environment where participants are pushed to their limits while disconnecting from their regular lives. It is a place for introspective and challenging thinking.
Joining the Homeward Bound program this year is marine scientist Dr Elisabeth Deschaseaux from Southern Cross University who works on a special marine-sourced compound called dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a biogenic sulfur gas that may have the capacity to counteract climatecchange. Each participant has been asked to fundraise $24,500 to cover the cost of the program. You can help her and win interesting perks. Visit www.chuffed.org/project/women-for-climate-actions.
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