Working together for gender equality in South and West Asia
Australia Awards scholars from across South and West Asia engaged in discussion, commitment and action to promote gender equality in their home countries at the second Scholars Forum of 2019, held in Canberra.
Under the theme ‘Working together for gender equality in South and West Asia’, the two-day Forum brought together more than 100 participants, including 69 Australia Awards scholars.
Joining the scholars were Australia Awards alumni; senior diplomats from the South and West Asia region; and representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), women’s advocacy groups, international development organisations, and Australian universities, think-tanks and research institutions.
The Forum opened with a Welcome Reception at the iconic Parliament House. Key speakers across the two days addressed important issues relating to women’s leadership, security and peace building, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women.
Highlights included addresses by Dr Sharman Stone (then Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls) and Ms Janelle Weissman, Executive Director at UN Women National Committee Australia. Mr Paul Wojciechowski, Assistant Secretary of DFAT’s South Asia Branch, presided over the Forum as its host, while scholars themselves emceed proceedings.
Scholars’ experiences at the event were supported by thoughtfully deployed technology such as a dedicated event webpage; a digitally rotating gallery of alumni (women in leadership and male champions of change) for inspiration; live polling to aid interactivity; and real-time professional image distribution to assist participants in sharing their experiences on social media.
Outcomes from the Forum included scholars:
- developing their understanding of the economic, developmental, social and human rights benefits of gender equality
- identifying key challenges and ways to improve gender equality in their countries
- designing personal commitments to champion gender equality
- developing professional networks with Australians beyond their academic pursuits.