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Curtin pair to pursue vision of equality all the way to Antarctica

Media release

Curtin University PhD student Yalimay Jiménez and lecturer Dr Lesley Sefcik are on a quest for gender equality that will take them all the way to Antarctica.

The pair were chosen from a field of international applicants to participate in the 2019 Homeward Bound program, which helps women with a science background to influence policy and decision making as it shapes the planet.

Ms Jiménez and Dr Sefcik are part of a third cohort of 80 women to take part in the leadership program, which began in 2016 and each year culminates in a voyage to Antarctica.

Ms Jiménez is a second-year PhD Candidate in Chemistry at WA-OIGC/School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University who is passionate about gender equality.

“Women who are inspired, empowered and educated make a positive impact,” Ms Jiménez said.

“It is important to create opportunities and suitable conditions for women to become decision-makers at all levels. Both men and women are part of the solution, working together. But we need to reach a parity, because we all live in the same planet, and both points of views are vital.”

Dr Sefcik is a lecturer and Academic Integrity Advisor at Curtin and her areas of expertise include global change-related impacts on forest ecosystems.

“As a strong feminist, teacher, mother-of-three and environmental activist, I will be championing the idea that we are all responsible for making decisions toward a more ecologically and equitable future for our planet,” Dr Sefcik said.

“We must not wait for current governments and corporations to do this for us, because often these organisations don’t represent the actual needs of the planet and its residents.”

Dr Sefcik said she hoped to make strong connections with the many extraordinary women also in the program, gain better leadership and networking skills, and learn up-to-date information about global change and the needs of the planet.

“I will then apply this knowledge to work towards closing the gender leadership gap through making my voice, and the other women I represent, heard within policy decision-making and large-scale environmental initiatives,” Dr Sefcik said.

Former Curtin PhD students of WA-OIGC Ines Melendez and Anais Pages are part of the 2019 and 2018 cohorts, respectively, with the latter recently departing on the Antarctic voyage. The 2019 program, also involving Ms Jiménez and Dr Sefcik, has just begun and departs for its voyage on December 31, 2018.

The study of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and their roles in the climate system, provides participants with insights into global-scale change, and the influence of human activities on environmental change.

Homeward Bound’s ten-year goal is to equip a 1000-strong global collaboration of women to lead, influence and contribute to policy and decision making as it informs the future of the planet. For more information visit