Adelie penguin
A group of 76 women will head to Antarctica on Friday to begin a mission to improve female leadership in science to better tackle climate change Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

A total of 76 female scientists will set sail from Ushuaia in Argentina on Friday to begin a scientific expedition to Antarctica.

The expedition is the first of a 10-year initiative to boost female leadership in earth sciences and biology and tackle climate change.

Fabian Dattner, the co-founder of the initiative, Homeward Bound, says that addressing the lack of women in senior science positions is necessary to fight climate change.

"The message of Homeward Bound is to bring together this intelligent, capable group of women who are not seen, not recognised, and in large part somewhat side-lined," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Many of the women on the trip had experienced sexual harassment, discrimination and misogyny at work, Dattner said.

Dattner decided to set up the initiative when she heard a group of polar scientists saying that researchers needed a beard to get top positions in Antarctic science.

"In science sometimes it is hard to pull yourself out of your research focus and broaden your prospective," the marine ecologist and expedition participant Raeanne Miller said.

"Often you feel as if you are the only one experiencing what you are experiencing."

Christina Schroeder, a biologist at the University of Queensland, said that drawing attention to the fragility of Antarctic ecology was the most important goal of the trip.

"There is no denying that Antarctica is one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world and there is such importance in putting in place measures to stop what is happening and focusing on how we can make the world a better place," Schroeder told Quest Community News.

"Everyone I have met so far has been so excited. We are women from many different fields... I've caught up with women from Doctors Without Borders, women who are ­science educators and zoo nutritionists.

"The most exciting thing is the network of women that will be created and the passion to connect 1,000 women over the next 10 years," she said.

A 60-minute documentary on the trip will be released after the 2016 expedition is completed.