26 September 2023

Executive education: Specialised for CALD women

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Jessie Tu* says an executive education program for culturally diverse women is about to launch in Australia.

Monash Business School is launching a new executive education program for women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

In Australia, CALD women and First Nations women have a significantly lower rate of workforce participation.

They face various, unique challenges, particularly concerning their economic participation and financial security.

These women also experience more downward career mobility and are often underemployed or not represented in executive leadership positions.

The four-month, face-to-face program will meet five times to help empower culturally diverse women and teach them ways to advocate for themselves in the workplace.

The school will partner with MindTribes to run the series of masterclasses, working out ways to break down barriers and address inequalities experienced by women in the workplace.

MindTribes is a Melbourne-based organisation that centres on helping businesses secure both the human and commercial benefits of greater inclusion and diversity.

The masterclasses, the first of their kind at Monash, will see professional women from CALD communities, First Nations women and migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women being coached on goal setting, developing a brand, and creating advocacy inside an organisation.

Professor Jacinta Elston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) and Head of the William Cooper Institute in Melbourne 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 their identity in their workplaces alongside other valuable professional skills.

“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.

Div Pillay, CEO and Co-Founder of MindTribes, and a Monash Business School alumna herself, believes it is important for workplaces to focus on gender inequality and understand the experience for women when their Aboriginality, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability create compounding barriers in their 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,” Pillay said.

“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,” she continued.

“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.”

The program is among many offered through Monash Business School’s Executive Education Program which help women with business strategy, innovation, leadership and influence, business acumen, productivity and well-being.

*Jessie Tu is a journalist with Women’s Agenda. Her new book, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, has just been released by Allen & Unwin.

This article first appeared at womensagenda.com.au.

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