March 8th is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is Generation Equality. In honour of this PRiMEtime will focus in on several schools are celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality. In their most recent SIP report, Monash University Malaysia outlines several specific initiatives in place to support and promote women not just within their own campus but in their wider community as well. Here are a selection of these initiatives.
On campus: Monash University Malaysia established the Gender Equity Taskforce in 2017. It aims to identify and advise the President on projects, policies and programmes to enhance gender equality at Monash University Malaysia. So far, the Taskforce has conducted and reported on the Workplace Inclusion Survey, developed a module ‘Understanding Gender Inclusivity’ for staff through the Continuing Education Excellence Development (CEED) programme, launched the Women’s Empowerment Network and held the World Cafe for Women to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018.
In the curriculum: A new assessment task related to Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender equality) was incorporated into the curriculum. Students participated in a debate on the inclusion of women on company boards. A guest speaker came in to discuss the issues arising from the 30% quota requirements stipulated in the latest Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance which requires companies to disclose their policies for appointing more women to their boards and set targets.
Supporting alumni: The Alumni chapter promoted gender equality and inclusion through a two-month programme called Women Who Thrive. The programme is designed to help female alumni accelerate their career and personal growth under the mentorship of local industry leaders. Thirty alumni participated in workshops, networking events and meetings with their mentors, who were some of Malaysia’s most influential business people.
Celebrating alumni: Safaath Ahmed Zahir, the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, beganan internship at the Capital Market Development Authority in Maldives after she graduated. During her internship, she was invited to become the Secretary General of Women on Boards,a non-governmental organisation promoting gender diversity in the workplace. Zahir then established Women and Democracy, an NGO that aims to empower women in political leadership and to assist women to acquire skills to successfully participate in all aspects of the Maldivian political process.
Showcasing female entrepreneurs: The eiHub and the School of Business celebrated Women Entrepreneurship Week (Oct 13-20, 2018) with Montclair State University and universities and institutions from 32 countries. Thirty-five female entrepreneurs were invited to eiHub’s Women Entrepreneurs Bazaar to promote and sell their products and services. A number of workshops and events included successful female entrepreneurs sharing their lessons and challenges.
A Social Safety Net: The School of Business at Monash University Malaysia collaborated with Liberty to Learn to deliver four training sessions and provide mentoring to the leaders of refugee community organisations to build the economic resilience of these vulnerable communities. The aim of the Social Protection Fund is to strengthen the capacity of the refugee community organisations, support the sustainability of their projects and facilitate self-reliance within refugee communities. The Fund also aims to improve the livelihoods of over 200 vulnerable persons in the community especially women and youth. The School of Business contributed to the project by conducting workshops in project management for the leaders of the community based organisations and by facilitating networking between the leaders. The School also provided mentors from academic staff to guide the refugee organisations as they implement the tools and resources from the workshops.