This article was submitted to Insider Guides on behalf of Future Forte
The journey of international students in Australia encompasses a world of new experiences and challenges.
Among the multitude of factors that shape your time abroad, the visibility of women in leadership positions can be profoundly important for international students who find empowerment in representation.
In turn, involving international students in activities that promote gender equality in leadership can also magnify the impact on the broader multicultural community in Australia and beyond because of a few unique qualities that international students bring:
1. Intersectional gender equality
The significance of women in leadership extends beyond gender, encompassing intersectionality that speaks to the complex interplay of identities. The visibility of women from diverse backgrounds leading in various sectors sends a resounding message that leadership is not confined to a single narrative. International students, who bring their unique cultural richness, can provide insight into the multi-dimensional nature of equality and the power of diverse voices.
2. Inspiring role models across cultures
Visible women leaders from diverse backgrounds provide international students with role models. Their stories of perseverance and success may resonate with the experiences of international students. These leaders mirror the students’ own journeys of adaptation and tenacity, highlighting that cultural differences can be facilitators of success. The diversity in leadership models showcased encourages students to embrace their unique skills while aspiring to leadership roles.
3. Enriched global perspectives
The presence of women leaders cultivates a diverse range of perspectives that international students can weave into their education and extracurricular activities. The global perspectives that international students possess can sharpen innovation, critical thinking, resilience and adaptability. The cross-cultural insights and leadership styles prepare students to leverage and be a key part of a global workforce.
4. Advocates for inclusivity worldwide
Understanding the importance of diverse leadership shapes international students as advocates for global inclusivity. Armed with the values of equality and cultural appreciation, students can become ambassadors of change in Australia and in their home countries. They bring with them the knowledge of dismantling stereotypes and promoting gender equity worldwide.
To foster inclusive leadership among international students, there are several ways international students can be involved. Intersectional mentorship programs, leadership workshops, and cross-cultural networking opportunities that are run by universities, government initiatives and community organisations can offer students valuable guidance while celebrating their diverse backgrounds. There are also events featuring women leaders from different cultures that provide students with insights and advice.
The Future Forte Conference on 9 September 2023 at the State Library of Victoria is a wonderful opportunity for international students to develop their unique leadership skills and connect with like-minded peers and professionals.
The annual conference stands as a primary equity and inclusion initiative in Victoria, supported by Study Melbourne, Victoria University, CQUniversity, City of Melbourne and others. This event gathers thought leaders and changemakers to discuss gender equality and inclusivity in leadership, offering a platform for international students to engage and learn.
In conclusion, the visibility of diverse women’s leadership for international students in Australia is a catalyst for transformative change, championing intersectionality and cultural diversity. By inspiring through role models, enriching perspectives, and fostering global inclusivity, we can empower students to become leaders of change who celebrate their individuality while championing gender equality.