An ‘Empowering Women through Employment’ event was hosted today by Settlement Services International (SSI) in the lead-up to International Women’s Day.
Federal Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, were among the participants at the Paramatta, which was aimed at improving understanding of the strengths of women from diverse background in work.
The event brought together nearly 200 women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, community leaders, and representatives from the corporate world.
Payne said the economy as a whole, and women themselves, were better off with greater female participation. “There are significant social, health and well-being benefits for women when they work. In the case of migrant women, it is good for their integration and their social wellbeing and that of their families,” she said.
“Our Government recognises these trends and truths. It’s why we’re supporting more women to work.”
Minister Cash said migrant women faced particular challenges when it came to economic participation and financial security.
“Australia’s success as a multicultural and inclusive nation depends on the economic participation and contribution of migrants. That’s why the Morrison Government has a strong focus on ensuring we provide the support services to facilitate English language proficiency, employment and education when providing settlement assistance to migrants and humanitarian entrants to Australia,” Cash said.
“Women from diverse backgrounds are skilled, courageous and resourceful. What is often missing is the opportunity to fully participate and share that skill and knowledge. This is why the Government continues to ensure its mainstream employment services feature a range of interventions, activities and complementary programs to help assist CALD and refugee job seekers, including women.”
Zena Habib, head of People and Culture at the Australian National Maritime Museum, said her organisation was working hard to improve the cultural diversity of its workforce and today’s session offered invaluable insights and tips.
“Hearing first hand some of the challenges women from diverse backgrounds face and then being able to focus on solutions with two key ministers and corporates has given me not only inspiration to change things but some tools for how,” she said.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said IWD was about celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality.
“Gender equity is not just a women’s issue, it’s an issue for everyone,” she said. “We know that when women do well, their families, businesses and whole communities prosper.”
She said ‘Empowering Women through Employment’ recognised that women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds were at a unique intersection of gender and culture that could limit employment opportunities and career progression.
“In order to drive change on a larger scale, we need to ensure the voices of women from CALD backgrounds are front and centre. Let’s be #EachforEqual.
Above image: L-R: SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis, Senator the Hon Marise Payne and Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash