USHUAIA, Argentina – An expedition of 80 female leaders in different disciplines set sail for Antarctica on Tuesday to welcome 2019 with a message to the world about the urgency of strengthening female participation in the decisions defining the planet’s future.
The group, which includes women of 35 different nationalities, set sail from the far southern Argentine city of Ushuaia to greet the New Year while traversing the dangerous Drake Passage.
“We women have hung back to be a model to follow and we’ve been behind the scenes for a long time. It’s time to make visible what we’re capable of doing,” Venezuelan Yalimay Jimenez, a geochemical cartography expert, told EFE amid the hustle and bustle of boarding the ship.
The trip is part of the third edition of Australia’s Homeward Bound program, supported by the Spanish company Acciona and which focuses on promoting the role of women in decision-making on global matters such as climate change and sustainable development.
“We have a great opportunity with this expedition to support other Latin American women – but also from other places around the world – who have a large amount of experience and knowledge and want to contribute to improving the world,” Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres, a leader in the global fight against climate change, told EFE.
Homeward Bound says that despite the diversity of the participants, they all exhibit the profile for which they were selected for this program: namely, their potential to have an impact on decision-making regarding the planet’s future.
“It seems almost ridiculous” that in 2019 “we don’t have more leadership from women. It’s as if the human race were trying to run a marathon but just running with one leg. It’s possible, but it’s much more effective if we run with two,” said Figueres, who was a negotiator for the Paris climate change accord.
The 80 expedition members will tour at least 10 spots in Antarctica with the aim of analyzing the role of women in creating options for sustainable development in one of the world’s locations that is most vulnerable to climate change.
“My work over more than 10 years has been to study the Arctic and I always had the dream of visiting Antarctica, and the great attraction of fulfilling that dream merged with the great emotion of being part of this big network of women, who have the desire to have an impact on the world,” said Costa Rica’s Melania Guerra, an oceanographer who worked for NASA.