06th June, 2014
A group of 11 journalists from Pacific Island countries met Australian politicians and business leaders last month as part of a professional development program.
The Asia Pacific Journalism Centre hosted the program and focused on news media and the role of women in the economy. Australia Awards fellows studying journalism met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop and Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja in Canberra.
In the meeting, Ms Bishop endorsed all efforts to advance women’s empowerment in the Pacific, and in particular efforts to advance women’s participation in political leadership and provide better access to economic opportunities.
The five week program which started on 28 April was designed to promote reporting of business and economic news in a way that addresses the role of women in local economies, appeals to women as audiences and develops their economic literacy. The program will provide fellows with strategies to support equal opportunity and women’s leadership in the media.
During the meeting fellows discussed economic and cultural barriers to women’s advancement and Ms Bishop expressed her concerns about the lack of women in leadership positions in the Pacific.
‘The evidence is there that when women reach their potential, everyone benefits,” Ms Bishop said.
Fellow’s visited the Albury-Wodonga region where they met with women industry leaders in politics, agriculture, media, business and education.
The Australia Awards Fellowship Program supports the aims of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative by encouraging Pacific media to report on the need to increase women’s economic opportunities, and promote women as decision makers. The Australia Awards highlight Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development programs such as the Business Coalition for Women, and promotes changing community attitudes, women in leadership and women’s coalitions.