Celebrating female entrepreneurs
Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders commemorate International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an important fixture on the region’s diplomatic calendar. With a growing recognition of gender influence in politics and security, and the need to elevate more businesswomen and female policymakers into leadership roles, IWD presents an opportunity to showcase the contribution of women throughout Australia and Asia.
Asialink Diplomacy has been developing programs to magnify female voices across the region’s public dialogue. In recent weeks, the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP), a professional intensive learning opportunity for 15 social entrepreneurs from South-East Asia and Australia, hosted young leaders who are driving social change in their local communities
Cherrie Atilano was one of those innovative female delegates in the program. During her time in the A2ELP, Cherrie was also announced as one of the 2017 Filipino entrepreneurs of the year. As a founding member of an agri-social enterprise on Marinduque island, Cherrie has been developing sustainable agriculture and quality education for the children of local farmers and fishermen.
Another female delegate of A2ELP was Wen Shin Chia, the founder of Green Yards in Malaysia. Through an innovative recycling process, Wen Shin is working to convert grease into eco-friendly soap and candles. With a social enterprise that is deepening community awareness of environmental sustainability, Wen Shin joined A2ELP to build professional connections with other social entrepreneurs and potential collaborators. Back in Malaysia, she is marketing her ideas to high-level stakeholders, including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Wen Shin China with the Honourable Julie Bishop MP at the IWD dinner hosted by His Excellency Rod Smith PSM.
On the morning of IWD, Asialink Diplomacy previewed the Women in Leadership video series to Cherri, Wen Shin, and the other A2ELP delegates. This project involved six interviews with pioneering women leaders from across the region. Supported by the Australia-ASEAN Council in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the interviews tell the personal stories of inspiring women who have overcome the challenge of gender discrimination to achieve professional success.
These videos provided the delegates with insights and strategies to manage the hidden obstacles which younger women still confront in the workplace. This lesson were reinforced later that day in a discussion with Asialink CEO Jenny McGregor AM, who spoke of her experience as a woman leading this organisation over the last 26 years.