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28 Feb 2020

Media releases

Empowering Women through Employment

Settlement Services International (SSI) hosted the event in the lead-up to International Women’s Day. It brought together nearly 200 women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, community leaders, and representatives from the corporate world.

Minister Payne said the economy as a whole, and women themselves, were better off with greater female participation.

“There are significant social, health and wellbeing 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,” Minister 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 & 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.

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