Empowering and advocating for culturally diverse women in the workplace

A new executive education program targeting women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, is aiming to break down barriers and address inequalities experienced by women in the workplace.

Monash Business School, together with MindTribes, an award-winning organisation which helps businesses harness both the human and commercial benefits of greater inclusion and diversity, will launch a series of masterclasses that are designed to inspire, teach and coach professional women from CALD communities, inclusive of First Nations women and those from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

Australian CALD women and First Nations women have a significantly lower rate of workforce participation and many of these women face a number of challenges when it comes to economic participation and financial security. These women also experience downward career mobility, are often underemployed and are not represented in executive leadership in the private, public and not for profit sector.

The Culturally Diverse Women Program is aimed at personal development and professional advancement.  It works to support women to create a value proposition around their cultural identity, unlocking ways to navigate self-imposed and structural barriers and biases. One of the main ways of achieving this is by learning to influence a senior ally or advocate in their careers.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) and Head of the William Cooper Institute, Professor Jacinta Elston, said the program is also an opportunity for First Nations women to learn to value their unique identity and be coached on how to leverage this identity in their workplaces alongside other valuable professional competencies.

“It is imperative in addressing workplace inequity that First Nations women are supported in growing their ability to influence senior executives to remove these barriers and biases. I am pleased to announce that the Executive Education team, together with MindTribes, will be offering a sponsorship position for an Indigenous female leader to take part in the Culturally Diverse Women Program,” said Professor Elston.

CEO and Co-Founder of MindTribes and Monash Business School alumna, Div Pillay, says that it is crucial for Australian workplaces to address gender inequality from an intersectional lens, that is to understand the experience for women when their Aboriginality, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability and other unique identifiers create compounding barriers in careers.

“This program starts the change from a people centric approach, engaging the voice and agency of these women in reimagining their careers and leveraging their diversity in their workplaces. Our experiences with women on our programs is that many of them ‘hide’ their diversity to fit in, to what is expected in their workplace culture and they are often the ‘first’ and the ‘only’ diverse females in leadership teams, outside of existing female leaders that are from non-CALD backgrounds.”

“These individuals are often balancing how much of themselves to reveal and in the process, the business often misses out on innovation, different ways of working and thinking. The game changer of this program is that we invite senior allies and advocates into the last session which acts as a lever of change in career trajectories, said Div Pillay.

Monash Business School is committed to building leadership capacity for culturally diverse and indigenous leaders. The Culturally Diverse Women Program is the first short course of its kind offered by the Business School and was developed following demand for a program that focuses specifically on culturally diverse women in the workforce.

The portfolio of programs offered through the Business School’s Executive Education Program is centred around strategy, innovation, leadership and influence, business acumen, productivity and well-being.

To learn more about the program, please visit: https://bit.ly/3A1jMR2

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