To support the expedition to Antarctica for women in science I will be crowd-funding.
The aim is to raise £5000 in 32 days.
(32 days because then it ends on Sunday, and people often have time to give on a Sunday.)
If you’re reading my blog, you’re already one of my biggest supporters. So I have the biggest favor to ask of you. One of the most important times of crowd-funding are the first few days. So it would be amazing if you can put the 1st November in your diary and set a reminder to visit my page. (I’ll send out the link on the day!)
Every £1 Helps
You don’t have to give money. Sharing the message with your network is just as valuable as any money you can give. Crowd-funding works by many, many people giving small amounts. If you can give £1 that will make all the difference, as it encourages other people to do the same.
Donating or sharing early on helps so much because it adds momentum to the campaign from the start.
Why am I going to Antarctica?
Women and girls are underrepresented and undervalued in science. Especially at the highest level of leadership. I want to help make the step change we need towards equality in science by becoming the best leader, role model and science communicator I can be. So I am taking part in the Homeward Bound training program and expedition to Antarctica. Learning from other women, and global experts of climate change, sci-com, visibility and leadership. I will have the opportunity to share my knowledge, and good ideas from Manchester with women from 27 different countries. On my return, I will share stories and use what I have learned to work towards a more inclusive and diverse environment in science.
Are there really still barrier to women in science?
I’m a scientist and a science communicator. I love rocks and sand and big boulders. But I’ve seen and experienced so many of the barriers that hold women back, or stop women entering science in the first place!
This makes me angry and sad.
Anyone who has seen me sad for what ever reason, knows my natural reaction is to get organised (and often to bake). But I’m not baking this time – I’m going to Antarctica.
This is not to bury my head in the snow, but to spend 3 weeks living on a ship with 79 other women from 27 different countries. We are all taking part in a training program called Homeward Bound. We are coming together to learn about leadership and climate science.
Joining me on this journey of a lifetime is Christiana Figueres. I’m so excited. She’s a huge deal in climate change. She made the Paris Agreement happen when she was Executive Secretary for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. And learning from her will make me one step removed from Barack Obama! And only 2 steps removed from Michelle Obama!
There is still a long way to go before I set off to Antarctica on Christmas Day. This week alone I’m writing a journal article, meeting my mentor and having a video call with 40 other women about well-being on the ship.
I have some very exciting new and need to ask you for help very soon…so keep your eyes on the horizon….
It’s okay to hide. You don’t have to be on show all the time. Just because we all need to work together to make women more visible in STEMM and leadership doesn’t mean we have to be totally out-there and extra 24/7.
To let yourself rest
To let others be seen
If we have learnt anything from the presidential visit last week, it’s that sometime, when you have no idea what you’re talking about, it is better to shut-up and not be seen.
I didn’t go to an anti-Trump rally, I didn’t even tweet about it (!!!). I sat quietly instead and spent time with my family on a boat off the west coast of Scotland (away from any golf courses). You can’t fight every fight.
I used to be much ‘louder’ than I am now. I used to talk ALL THE TIME. Now I have days where I practice not saying anything. Maybe you’re the opposite and you need to practice putting forward the thoughts you have been carefully compiling. The key is to be aware and strategic with your energy.
Save yourself for the moments when the world really needs you. And in the in-between time, shine a light on others, and practice the art of not being seen…
Asking someone else for help is the biggest compliment you can give them.
Can you give me advice? How did you do that? Would you be my mentor?
Imagine how OVER THE MOON I felt when a group of students at my old university asked me to give a speech at the Royal School of Mines Union Women in STEMM Celebration Dinner last Friday.
I spoke about SYSTEMATIC, CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS barriers to women in STEMM and what Homeward Bound (and you!) can do about it. The best part of the dinner was the chance to talk with the other guest speakers Catrion Beadel (Rio Tinto) and Puja Hazlehurst (Kapoor) (Rolls-Royce). I hope (no, I proactively plan) to stay connected with them in the future. **Sends LinkedIn invitations** Who knows, maybe I will need to ask them for help one day…
An event like this reminds you how important people are, and how important it is to invest time in maintaining valuable relationships. A lack of a network holds women and minorities back in STEMM – the lack of an ‘old-boys-club’. But I don’t think we need an ‘old-girls-club’, I think we need an all humans-of all ages-open door policy where we work toward a sustainable quality of life for everyone together. How can we do this? Reach out to people, grow your network and let people know you value them. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Who is your mentor? …send them a quick email saying THANK YOU! If you don’t have one, do some research and reach out to someone. You never know what might happen…
2) Who do you mentor? …check in with them to see how they are getting on! Even a small amount of encouragement goes a long way to giving someone the confidence to go out and ‘make it happen’. You can be the person who makes that difference.
Be proactive in answering these questions and you may find many friends and allies in unexpected places…
24 hours ago I was swimming in the sea looking back at Barcelona with a beautifully diverse group of women who are all part of HB2019: Anne (from France), Stephanie (Belgium), Daisy (Switzerland + other places), Steph (Australia, living in Barcelona), Lorna (Canada + Scotland), and Ana (USA) from HB2018. We are scientists, politicians, performers, comedians, dancers, mothers, daughters and partners all with the common goal of promoting women and increasing diversity in leadership for a better future.
This is a big goal – but one that can be achieved.
If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
When I think about what we can do as individuals to be more inclusive, supportive of minorities, increase diversity and work towards this goal together as a team, 3 ideas keep coming up… These are my 3 tips from living a better feminist life…
Value yourself – be kind to yourself and appreciate all the great things that you do. Know that you are important and deserve respect. If you know what it means to receive respect you will be more likely to notice when someone else is not getting the same treatment.
Educate yourself – proactively learn about people, places and things you have not been exposed to or do not understand. There are many things in the world that need to change, and the best way to start is by understanding the problems and the people they are effecting. This is why I am (slowly but surely) adding all the useful links and tips I find to this blog so you can save time and see them too!
Use your privilege – we all have privilege in some way: a supportive family, an education, good health, a talent or a drive to make change happen. We need to use this privilege to lift others up. If you are in a room where decisions are being made, look around the room, who isn’t there? Invite people into the room.
Try doing each of these things once this week, and see the good it does.
In six months I shall take a deep breath and plunge into the icy waters of the Antarctic peninsula. Why on Earth would I do that? I recently put myself forward and was selected for Homeward Bound. Homeward Bound is a hugely influential leadership training program, female network and equality activism powerhouse whose aim is to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet.
With overwhelming support from friends, family, colleagues and strangers, I am diving into a year of training, three weeks on board a ship in the Antarctic with 85 other women leaders, one Antarctic swim (Brrrr) and a lifetime of support and inspiration from the rest of the community.
The importance of women in leadership positions is now crystal clear. Now is the time to proactively propel more of us into decision making roles and Homeward Bound is key to making that happen.
If, like me, you believe that now is the time to help develop more women into leadership positions, especially in STEMM, then follow me and follow the Homeward Bound journey.