KUCHING – Swinburne’s Head of School of Design and Arts Associate Professor Dr Ida Fatimawati bt Adi Badiozaman has recently won the 2020 UN Women Malaysia Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Award for the Community and Industry Engagement Category.
As a national winner, Dr Ida will have the opportunity to be selected as Asia-Pacific regional winner and celebrate in the larger regional Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards, the first awards initiative in the region to recognise exemplary business practice for gender equality aligned to the WEPs.
Dr Ida, who is also the Director of the Centre for Education Research at Swinburne Sarawak, was recognised for her work in establishing the Sarawak Women Aspiration Group (SWAG) and leading the research project on ‘SWAG: Building Connections for Enterprising Women’.
The project centres on the research and development of an enterprise ecosystem and building a framework for supporting enterprising women, particularly marginalised or women in poverty, to nurture female entrepreneurship across Sarawak, Malaysia and Melbourne, Australia.
Initiated in August 2017, the multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnership is an initiative between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); Sarawak’s Department of Women and Family under the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development; Good Shepherd Australia; Swinburne University of Technology Australia and Sarawak; and current and aspiring women entrepreneurs in Australia and Sarawak.
Through the success of the SWAG programme, the Sarawak government has approved an allocation of RM15 million in 2018 to build a one-stop centre that will have incubators, marketing trainings and product development to achieve international marketing standard, as well as an additional RM2 million in seed capital funding.
To address the digital needs for equal opportunities and access for both start-ups and scale-ups, a collaboration with SOCOE, a Sarawakian tech firm, introduced women entrepreneurs to the world of e-commerce by the launch of the ‘ePreneurs Wanita’ mobile application to market their products locally and globally.
In developing entrepreneurial capabilities and facilitating economic empowerment, a series of entrepreneurship literacy workshops attended by approximately 100 women and single mothers of a lower socio-economic background were provided at Swinburne Sarawak.
Since the project’s inception, the project has received ‘Highly Commended’ for the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award (2018), ranked first place for the Swinburne Research Impact Award (2019), and ‘Highly Commended’ for the International Emerald Interdisciplinary Impact Grant in 2019. Dr Ida’s role in the project has also led her to be an appointed member of the Sarawak Women and Family Council.
Commenting on the award, Dr Ida reiterated her commitment to the betterment of the community through translational research with impact.
“As an academic, I believe higher education plays an important role in developing and empowering the community in responding to challenges of globalisation,” Dr Ida said.
Dr Ida added that this is especially vital when it comes to empowering women and addressing issues of gender inequality in the workplace and community.
“I am proud to say that Swinburne Sarawak has become a WEPs signatory. Winning this award allows me to bring awareness to the plights of women in Sarawak and gives me the platform to shed light on many issues of access and equity in the State,” Dr Ida commented.
Dr Ida will be officially recognised and celebrated as a champion for gender equality at the UN Women WEPs Awards Regional Ceremony on 15 December, where a special ceremony will be held for the presentation of trophies and to officially recognise all national winners.
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