7 March 2024

Inspire Inclusion

By Communications Team

2nd Year Media and Communication student Victoria Frances Teng talks about ‘inspire inclusion’, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which urges us to reflect on the progress and challenges in pursuing gender equality. 

As a globally renowned university, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus is dedicated to creating an atmosphere that celebrates diversity as well as one that encourages women to succeed in their chosen career paths.

The Women Leadership and Empowerment Cluster within its School of Research is evidence of its commitment to offering opportunities and assistance to women. Employing comprehensive research and influential leadership development initiatives, Swinburne Sarawak endeavours to provide the community in which it operates the resources to advocate for gender inclusion. 

Volunteer Management Lead

As the Volunteer Management Lead, Swinburne Sarawak Student Council, Victoria (second from right) collaborated with her high school alma mater in a Clothes Donation Drive for the Toyota Eco Youth Program


Progress and challenges 

In a society striving for inclusivity and equality, the role of women cannot be understated. Yet, despite significant advancements over the years, gender disparities persist. It can be seen in all facets of life, from the workplace to politics, dedication and beyond. In 2023, the presence of women in senior leadership positions like Director and Vice President in the workforce was limited to only 32.2%. Men were still dominating top leadership roles across various industries.

International Women’s Day is a poignant reminder of the ongoing fight for women’s rights and the need to inspire a more inclusive world. The theme ‘Inspire Inclusion’ encapsulates the essence of empowering women in fostering an environment where their voices are heard, valued and respected. it signifies the importance of advocating for women’s inclusion and inspiring genuine understanding and appreciation for their contributions to society.


Women empowerment, the essence of ‘Inspire Inclusion’

When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we pave the way for a more equitable world. It involves challenging traditional norms and stereotypes, dismantling barriers hindering women’s progress, and promoting policies and practices prioritising gender equality. It is crucial to address  unconscious bias as it often perpetuates inequalities by influencing decision-making processes against women. Encouraging individuals to be mindful of unconscious biases and actively working to reduce them is essential in fostering an environment where women have equal opportunities.

Furthermore, factors such as race, ethnicity, and disability intersect with gender to compound the challenges faced by women For instance, women of colour experience systemic inequalities that stem from racial and ethnic disparities, including limited access to resources, higher rates of poverty, and increased exposure to discrimination and violence. Cultural norms and stereotypes about women’s roles within their communities can further restrict their opportunities and autonomy.

Additionally, women with disabilities
encounter physical, attitudinal, and societal barriers that impede their access to education, employment, and public spaces. Negative perceptions and lack of accommodations exacerbate their marginalisation, hindering their social and economic participation. Addressing these intersecting inequalities requires comprehensive strategies that prioritise the rights and needs of marginalised women, dismantle systemic barriers, and promote inclusive policies and practices. 

 

Strategies for a more inclusive world

To ensure gender equality and foster inclusivity, individuals and organisations can take various actions:  

  1. Implementing inclusive hiring and promotion practices that prioritise diversity and actively seek to eliminate biases can help create more equitable workplaces. Training on unconscious bias and diversity awareness can also increase understanding and mitigate discriminatory behaviours.
  2. Fostering mentorship and sponsorship programs that support women’s career development can empower them to advance in their respective fields.
  3. Establishing family-friendly policies, such as flexible working arrangements and parental leave, can enable both men and women to balance work and family responsibilities.
  4. Advocating for policy changes at the institutional and societal levels to address systemic barriers and promote gender equality is crucial for creating lasting change. 

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we collectively pledge to forge a more inclusive world for women. It’s a call to action for individuals, communities, and organisations to unite in solidarity, amplify women’s voices, and work towards breaking down barriers so everyone can thrive.  

Swinburne’s commitment to empowering women

2023 State Level Women’s Day celebration.

Prof Dr Ida Fatimawati Binti Adi Badiozaman, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research (seated, second left) was a panelist in the Sarawak Women in Research and Leadership forum, 2023 Sarawak State Level Women’s Day celebration.

Swinburne Sarawak stands as an exemplary organisation that takes pride in elevating the stature and showcasing the talents of women, empowering them to excel in leadership roles. Their objective, as exemplified by endeavours like the Women Leadership and Empowerment Cluster, is to motivate all to establish a secure and nurturing atmosphere for women leaders, regardless of their stage in their careers. Focusing on research domains addressing equality and accessibility in women’s affairs, alongside providing thorough leadership and development initiatives, Swinburne Sarawak aims to empower everyone with the tools to champion and bolster women in their pursuit of success.

From celebrities and public figures to our teachers and mothers, let us draw inspiration from the countless trailblazers who have paved the way for progress and reaffirm our commitment to building a future where every woman is valued, included, and empowered. Together, let’s inspire inclusion and create a world where gender equality is not just a dream but a reality.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us draw inspiration from the remarkable efforts of those who have paved the way for progress. Swinburne Sarawak stands as an example of an institution that actively assists in giving women the support they need in all stages of their careers.

Learn more about International Women’s Day by exploring the IWD Official website.


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