Three Kiwis are set to join an 80-strong, all-female expedition to Antarctica next year.

The Homeward Bound expedition, led by Australian leadership activist Fabian Dattner, aims to raise awareness of low representation of women in leadership positions in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine).

The trip to the frozen continent will mark the culmination of a year-long global programme involving 80 scientists, including Scion economist Sandra Velarde Pajares, Landcare Research scientist Dr Priscilla Wehi and Amanda Kirk, an Ohope-based environmental engineer at Opus International Consultants.

"Collaborative teams of women, over the next 12 months, will focus on developing the leadership capabilities to influence significant issues at a global level including climate change, deforestation, species extinction and quality of life," Dattner said.


"Teams will also tackle specific gender issues, such as sexual harassment and bullying, as they affect the progression of women in general, and specifically in STEMM."

Women have long been under-represented in New Zealand universities and scientific institutions, particularly at higher levels.

While the Royal Society of New Zealand has moved to address a lack of diversity among its fellows, the proportion of females in its ranks still stands at just 12.5 per cent.

This year's expedition, to take place in February and March, would have a particular focus on science communication and emotional intelligence.

The three Kiwis will be joined by women scientists from Australia, Italy, France, Norway, Venezuela, United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Kenya, China and Canada.