Leadership & Management

Program to address systemic barriers restricting CARM women from rising into executive and key decision-making roles

Health Industry Hub | September 12, 2022 |

Leadership & Management: A boost in women’s workforce participation and women’s representation in leadership positions will be facilitated by the government’s investment of $15.84 million into six projects.

Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, said the projects, which will be funded over four years and directly benefit 5,000 women nation-wide, go hand-in-hand with the Government’s emphasis on women’s economic equality. 

“At the Jobs and Skills Summit last week, we heard loud and clear that ensuring that women have equal opportunities and equal pay is the key to unlocking productivity in our economy,” said Minister Gallagher

Diversity Council Australia (DCA), along with partners Settlement Services International (SSI) and Chief Executive Women have received funding under the Women’s Leadership and Development Program for a project to address the systemic barriers restricting culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) women’s upward mobility into leadership roles in Australian organisations.

The 2022 Chief Executive Women Senior Executive Census shows progress for women in senior roles in Australia’s ASX300 has stalled – with only 18 women holding CEO positions in the ASX300.

‘Make your own path and don’t let anybody dissuade you from your journey’, says AOA President to Women of Orthopaedics

The Census does not report on representation of CARM women, but we know that women from culturally and racially marginalised backgrounds have significantly lower representation in leadership roles, and this plays out far beyond the ASX, and across our country in organisations big and small.

This project is designed to take an intersectional approach to addressing these barriers for CARM women in leadership.

DCA will lead the project, working with key partners SSI and CEW over the next three years.

Lisa Annese, CEO, Diversity Council Australia, said “For too long, women’s leadership programs have been designed in a one-size-fits-all way, that doesn’t take into account the different experiences that different women have.

“This funding means that we can design a program that is led by and informed by culturally and racially marginalised women to understand what exactly the systemic barriers stopping them from entering executive and key decision-making roles in Australian organisations are.

“We are working directly with 375 culturally and racially marginalised women to simultaneously build their leadership capability, while at the same time providing evidence-based training to 25 national organisations to ensure that the systemic barriers locking culturally and racially marginalised women out of leadership in Australian businesses are removed and that the program can be sustained.

“DCA applauds the federal government for recognising the importance of taking an intersectional approach to addressing workplace gender inequality – experiences of marginalisation can be, and often are, amplified by multiple and overlapping barriers and systemic inequalities, including gender and racism.”

Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International (SSI) said that SSI would provide cultural responsiveness training and work with employers and CALD women on a career trajectory to achieve individual career goals.

“What makes this program unique is its approach and design,” said Violet Roumeliotis. It addresses the amplified experiences of discrimination and exclusion from intersecting marginalising identities of being culturally and linguistically diverse, plus being a woman.

“The racial ceiling is a very real phenomenon that creates additional barriers for refugee and migrant women to achieve career goals.

“Working collaboratively at individual and organisational levels, the program will identify, deliver and evaluate effective change interventions that can remove systemic barriers for CALD women and facilitate progression into leadership roles.”

Minister Gallagher emphasised the Government’s keen focus on helping women from diverse backgrounds to achieve their leadership goals.

“We know that there are greater barriers faced in the workforce by First Nations women, women with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse women. These projects will contribute to the broader efforts required to address these barriers, alongside efforts to close the gender pay gap and ensure women’s economic equality.”

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