When I graduated from my environmental science degree I was the only woman in my cohort.
But it was women who came to watch me climb the stage and cheer me on. My grandmother, my mother and my sister. And I would not have been there if it wasn’t for their love and support throughout my life. Studying science was hard, and I wanted to give up many times. But I persisted because I am passionate about protecting our environment, and because those women were there to encourage me along the way.
Several years on, and I’ve just landed in Ushuaia, Argentina, to meet up with 79 other women with STEMM backgrounds (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) to learn how to be better leaders in order to look after our planet. Ushuaia is a small town with brightly coloured houses and snow-capped mountains in the distance. It seems apt to be starting our on-the-ground program in such a beautiful environment.
I am so excited to be a part of Homeward Bound, but I am also incredibly nervous. What if I am not good enough to be here? What if they made a mistake selecting me? Knowing it was a rigorous application process and knowing that women are more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome isn’t enough to suppress my self-doubt just yet
To clear my head, I jump on a bus to the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and start the hike to the top of the Cerro Guanaco mountain. It’s steep and soon my legs are aching and I’m out of breath. But I keep going because I keep discovering picturesque trees and creeks and remembering why I wanted to be here.
View from the top of Cerro Guanaco out over Ushuaia. Worth the climb.
Throughout the year, Homeward Bound participants have learnt from women experts the importance of being visible, of being vulnerable and supporting each other. And I have benefited already. I’ve been sent useful papers for my Masters’ thesis. I felt confident enough to say yes to and give a presentation on my work to sister organisations all around the world to help them campaign more effectively for political change in their own countries.
At the Homeward Bound welcome dinner Christiana Figueres, former UN Climate Chief, (who I’ve admired for years) told us “global change starts with individual transformation”. We’re all here to get to know ourselves better, and each other, so that we can help change the world.
Thank you to all the women in my life who have been there for me, and all the other Homeward Bound participants. Looking around at everyone here I have no doubt that we will all have an impact for the greater good.
Anisha Humphreys, #TeamHB3