Earn, learn and lead

SisterWorks head of growth and partnerships (supplied).

With International Women’s Day right around the corner, an entrepreneur and corporate leader is highlighting the central role economic empowerment plays in a gender equal world.

Head of growth and partnerships for not-for-profit social enterprise Sisterworks, Shamila Gopalan works with migrant refugee and asylum seeker women to economically empower them through employment and skills development.

Ms Gopalan will be speaking on the panel at Macedon Ranges council International Women’s Day event at Kyneton Town Hall, on March 8.

“[Sisterworks] basically [is] that kickstart to them navigating the entire Australian system and making a positive difference in their own lives and the lives of their families and communities,” she said.

Ms Gopalan said when women are supported to have economic empowerment they build their capabilities and strengthen their capacity to earn, learn and lead.

“When women are given equal opportunities to earn, learn and lead, entire communities thrive.

“First and foremost, you need to have inclusion so counter and emphasise the importance of recognising and including women in all aspects of society.

“We have to take into account women from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic statuses, that call for solutions that address each of the unique challenges faced.

“I think we have to remember the intersectional part of it as well. There’s no one size fits all.”

When asked to reflect on this year’s theme of ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress,’ Ms Gopalan said investment needs to be intentional.

“Women’s empowerment requires intentional investment and that investment needs to go beyond financial support.

“[It] needs to include providing resources, opportunities, education and avenues for growth and development.

“Our society needs to advocate for where women have equal opportunities… in all spheres of life.”

Zoe Moffatt