UN Women NC Australia Scholarship helps close MBA gender gap

1 December 2015
Partnership helps address lack of women in leadership roles

The University of Sydney Business School and UN Women National Committee Australia have once again partnered to offer a $60,000 MBA Scholarship in a united effort to promote women in leadership.

NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Principal Demographer Dr Kim Johnstone was awarded the UN Women NC Australia MBA Scholarship in 2015.

The scholarship will support an eligible female applicant in joining the Business School's innovative and industry-oriented Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, alongside a diverse cohort of Australia's emerging leaders.

Women average between 30 and 35 percent of MBA participants in Australia, and worldwide. The unique partnership between the Business School and UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia, launched in 2014, aims to address this gap, further women's education and promote gender equality in leadership.

"Access to education is crucial to gender equality and the University of Sydney Business School has an opportunity to influence the gender equality agenda," Australian National Committee for UN Women Executive Director Julie McKay said.

"The Australian National Committee for UN Women is proud to partner with the Business School, and we are excited to be offering this scholarship for the fourth consecutive semester. Together, we are expanding leadership opportunities for women, including increased access to higher education."

Commenting on the gender gap in MBA programs, MBA Director Professor Guy Ford said many women believed MBA programs were dominated by 'alpha males' and oriented towards technical skills such as accounting, finance and operations management.

"We have tackled these stereotypes by striking a balance between personal, interpersonal and technical skill development and by focusing on experiential learning with regular and ongoing feedback on the student's specific leadership skills and competencies," Professor Ford said.

The Business School achieved a significant milstone in July this year when it attracted more women than men in the semester 2 commencing cohort – a first for business schools in Australia, and for many around the world.

"Our MBA scholarship is emblematic of our commitment to supporting women of outstanding capability to assume leadership roles in all areas of business and professional life," Business School Dean Professor Greg Whitwell said.

"Our partnership with the Australian National Committee for UN Women helps us to challenge gender barriers and supports the next generation of leaders in developing the skills needed to meet the challenges facing Australian industry and the wider community.”

NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Principal Demographer Dr Kim Johnstone was awarded the scholarship in July 2015. She has worked extensively with women's support services across Australia and is currently Vice-President of the Family Planning Association of NSW and the Australian Population Association.

"The UN Women Scholarship provides me with a platform for advocacy about gender equity and women's issues - not just for women's leadership, but for women's rights generally," Dr Johnstone said.

"I am developing the tools to apply my experience across a range of sectors in Australia and the Pacific.

"My ambition for the future is one where being a woman does not make it less likely to be a CEO, and where equity of gender, disability and ethnicity is a norm across workplaces, the home and society. I want to see gender equity in Australia and for our neighbours in the Pacific, and I want to be part of making that future possible."

Previous recipients also include Perth-based Business Advisor for Woodside Energy, Nancy Nguyen, and Anmoljot (Anmol) Kaur Saini, Senior Manager, Corporate Recovery, Ferrier Hodgson.

Applications for the scholarship for Semester 1, 2016 close on 17 January 2016.

Find out more and apply for the scholarship.