Violence against women is an issue that transcends borders, and the Gender Consortium at Flinders has just completed a 10-week program funded through AusAID’s Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Fellowship program which focused on preventing and responding to violence against women for 18 Fellows from Vietnam and Mongolia.
Gender Consortium Director Ms Cara Ellickson said that as part of the program, emerging leaders from across the South-East Asian region have come to Flinders since 2007 to focus on gender equity and women’s empowerment issues.
“This year we chose the theme of violence against women because we hope it inspires both Australian and regional reform to tackle the problem, and in doing so works towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” Ms Ellickson said.
The program involved eight ALA Fellows from Mongolia nominated by the Mongolian National Committee on Gender Equality, and 10 from Vietnam nominated by the Vietnamese Women’s Union. The Fellows were drawn from both government and non-government agencies.
The 10-week intensive program combined research, training and fieldwork, and was geared towards enhancing the Fellows’ leadership capabilities in accessing information, research and analysis, strategic thinking and planning, and communication and networking.
The program included a major seminar that featured leading academics, policy-makers and practitioners from around Australia. Speakers addressed manifestations of violence directed at women that ranged from domestic assault through to forced marriage and slavery.
Ms Ellickson said the Fellowship has provided avenues to build potential regional partnerships between the Fellows and Australian experts to promote gender-sensitive good governance aimed at preventing and responding to violence against women.
“The program was successful in every respect,” Ms Ellickson said.
“All of the Fellows were very committed to improving their knowledge and skills during their Fellowship, and all of us involved in the organising and conducting the program have been very impressed by their determination, motivation, persistence and achievements.”
The ALA Fellowships are offered under the Australia Awards by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The Australia Awards aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and a new generation of global leaders.