efe-epaUshuaia, Argentina

Some 80 women from diverse professional backgrounds were gearing up Sunday for a major expedition to the Antarctic that will put female leadership in the spotlight.

Part of the Australian Homeward Bound program - a project that highlights women as key decision makers for the sustainability of the planet - the female-led expedition is set to depart for Antarctica on Monday and will stay there until Jan. 19.

"Homeward Bound is a global initiative for women with a STEM background: science, technology, engineering and medicine; with a view to increasing women's visibility as leaders in our world," Fabian Dattner, founder of the project, told EFE.

"We operate on the principle that right now, not 10 years from now, we need more women leading. Full stop," Dattner said.

Christina Figueres - a Costa Rican diplomat and former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - is also set to join the group of women, stating that up until now many areas of research and decision-making have been limited by employing just 50 percent of humankind's potential.

With the Homeward Bound expedition, supported by Spanish renewable energy company Acciona, better results could be obtained and the goal of creating a better world for future generations might be possible thanks to the use of 100 percent of humankind's potential, Figueres said.

Anabella Palacios - an urban and economic development planner, and consultant to the World Bank also joining the team - said the project would give the women a unique opportunity to set up collaborative networks and a hub where innovative policy ideas could emerge to tackle climate change.

When explaining why Homeward Bound had chosen Antarctica as its destination, Dattner explained that the motivation behind the expedition was to expose it as one of the most vulnerable areas on the planet to climate change.

"Antarctica is like the part of your home refrigerator that you never look at unless there is a problem," Dattner said. "And when you pull your refrigerator out, you look at the back, that's Antarctica."