Women leading and influencing



Australia Awards Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) begins!

Monday, 5 February 2018

For more than 60 years, the Australian Government has supported the education of emerging leaders from developing countries, including the Pacific.

Since the Colombo Plan in the 1950s to today's Australia Awards, more than 90,000 men and women have received an Australian government scholarship to study in Australia.

These scholars are some of the best and brightest from our region, and the new Australia Awards Women's Leadership Initiative is now connecting key emerging scholars to the people and opportunities that will help them to fulfil their potential and drive change in their countries and communities.

The initiative will engage with women and men studying on Australia Awards Scholarships, offering a suite of skills development, face-to-face and web-based learning, as well as mentoring.

This week, the first cohort of women to take part in mentoring has gathered in Canberra for a week-long program of activities.

Twelve women from five countries (Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu) have been selected from current Australia Awards scholars for one-on-one mentoring with Australian women from business, not-for-profit, development and government sectors for skills, networking and leadership building.

In the weeks ahead, there will be opportunities for all current Australia Awards scholars from the Pacific toparticipate in learning and networking events; and a second cohort of scholars will be selected for mentoring later in the year.

Look out on Australia Awards social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and stay in touch with your university contacts for registration and application details.

Of our first mentoring cohort, the selected women show incredible leadership potential and have big ambitions.

  • Cora Makini aims for a top job as a civil engineer, while challenging gender stereotypes preventing women from entering STEM professions in the Solomon Islands.
  • Nirose Silas aims to become Auditor-General of Vanuatu while mobilising women to take on senior public service roles.
  • Luanne Isikel wants to use her advanced degree in computer science to empower women through computer literacy in Papua New Guinea.

The Australia Awards Women's Leadership Initiative will deliver opportunities for these Pacific women, and many others into the future, to become global, national and community leaders. It also skills up a group of Australian leaders to work alongside their Pacific counterparts.

Gender equality is essential to creating prosperity, stability and security in our region, and a strong focus on women and girls is embedded in the Australian Government's longstanding commitment to the Pacific. When women become leaders in their countries, communities and neighbourhoods, everyone benefits.

While women are absent from leadership, gender quality cannot be realised. By working with these amazing women to realise their goals, we're working together to strengthen opportunities for everyone in our region.

Stay tuned for more about the Women's Leadership Initiative, what this inaugural group gets up to, and how they progress in their careers and actions in their home countries