Women leading and influencing



‘Doing their bit’ for diversity in the military: Marica and Jen

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Meet one of our newest Australia Awards Women’s Leadership Initiative 2020 mentoring pairs – Marica Selai Veronika Tagivetaua of Fiji and her Australian mentor, Jennifer (Jen) Wittwer CSM.This dynamic pair met for the first time this week, to kick off their 18 month mentoring partnership.

solider by profession, Marica is committed to inspiring more women to enter the military, and to take on leadership roles. Her mentor Jen – a former naval officer of 38 years who now writes and speaks extensively on gender diversity – knows first-hand the challenges faced by women working in male dominated professions, and the benefits that greater diversity can bring. “Increased women’s participation in the military enhances operational effectiveness, provides a more positive workplace culture” says Jen, “and makes the organisation a more attractive employment opportunity for women”. 

Jen and Marica are excited about what the next 18 months will bring. Jen is looking forward to sharing her insights and experience on women’s leadership in the military with Marica. “This will help me develop my leadership qualities and fulfil my aspirations in both the military and civil service”, said Marica. The pair is also looking forward to extending their professional and personal networks, and strengthening the links between their two countries.

Reflecting on their first meeting, the pair noted that the International Women’s Day 2020 theme was especially fitting for them and their shared professional and leadership interests.

“Each for Equal means equality in all its essence”, said Marica. “Whereby everyone is given an equal opportunity to prove themselves and make a mark regardless of sex, race, age, beliefs, social and financial status”. Jen agreed, noting the theme also spoke to the importance of working together to achieve gender equality – not just in the military, but in all spheres of society.  “We must all do our bit”, she said. “The greater the groundswell, the greater the impact”.


Find out more about Marica and Jen, and meet our other Women’s Leadership Initiative participants and mentors here