So, the journey has started. One hundred women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) have set sail on a voyage of discovery into leadership, visibility and more.
It was last Wednesday night. To be honest I was trashed, my daughter finally started school again this week and I think the slight bit of decompression, combined with the rapidly approaching end to the University semester, and hence the end of teaching, marking and delivering online sessions, had allowed the underlying fatigue to rise to the surface. So, with a cup of tea in hand and the wood burning stove on I started my journey via Zoom, in the company of 100 other women around the globe. Women sat in their laundry rooms at 4 am in the morning in Perth, Australia, so as not to wake the sleeping toddler in the room next door; and in equally glamorous and diverse environments and locations across the globe. In many ways this all summed it up: global diversity, women and togetherness. How fabulous to meet Celine in South Africa, and her passion and frustration for the issues that face the water scarce country in which she lives; and Anjani in Trinidad and Tobago, the joy beaming from her face across the World and onto my screen in Scotland as she talked about the magnificence of diving in the reefs around the island on which she lives. Their embeddedness in nature and their wonder of the natural World I immediately identified with. One of the first messages was that we can be stronger together and working globally we can make change. If anything, that is what I took from this first session. The session was intense and quite info heavy, a necessity of getting going, but my eye lids were heavy too as I did my first bit of ‘homework’ at 10 pm. This was summarising the motivation of Celine which she had delivered in a 2 minute getting to know each other speed session. This was going to be amazing, hard work, but amazing.
Meanwhile back in the reality of fundraising, marketing and communications that was slowly inter-weaving its way into my daily life between the lectures, marking and online student supervision; things were getting busy. The IT literate members of the 7 strong UK team had constructed a fabulous website from which to promote our virtual journey to Antarctica. This virtual journey was going to underpin our fundraising activities and allow us to promote women affecting change around the globe on a self-powered 16,000 km journey to Antarctica (more on this to come). This required setting up a ‘Chuffed’ fundraising page, much harder to get the words right than you might expect, and also to think about the purpose of the whole journey for me. Part of that purpose is to elevate women in STEMM, and to promote them as role models for young women. I am keen to create a podcast of conversations with women making change around the World. So I’ve been setting that up too and trying to keep my branding consistent and the message clear. This desire to podcast is somewhat inspired by my lockdown listening to the great Jane Garvey and Fi Glover on Fortunately; which has provided many an inner giggle on a lonely afternoon in which it truly feels like I am in conversation with my old university mates, or my crazy wild-swimming possie ‘Swimmin Wimmin’. I promise no such hilarity with the ‘breaking the ice ceiling’ podcast, but hopefully lots of interesting women and discussion of contemporary issues. We shall see how it goes.
Right, I’d better get on with the marking and the next bit of homework for Homeward Bound. Watch the video it’s inspiring :)