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Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Workshop 2015

Sixteen member universities convened to discuss issues on gender gap at the APRU Asia-Pacific Women and Leadership (APWiL) Workshop 2015 from 9 to 11 March. The international workshop was hosted by the University of Auckland in New Zealand and supported by Elsevier. The host university welcomed participants at the university's cultural heritage landmark, the Waipapa Marae, whereby participants engaged in Powhiri, a Māori welcoming ceremony.

APWiL Workshop 2015 Group Photo
Participants gather for a group photo.
Photo credit: University of Auckland

The overview on the state of the gender gap in Asia-Pacific higher education on 10 March elicited dynamic discussions on building the pipeline and the nurturing of talent in universities. Professor Jenny Dixon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) at the University of Auckland (UoA) and Professor Ann Brewer, Dean of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Sydney led the discussions followed by case study presentations from UoA and the Australian National University. In addition, the workshop featured presentations on women's experiences in universities, identifying points of gender gap intervention and upskilling of universities for capacity building. These presentations included case studies from Tohoku University, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the University of Malaya, in addition to UoA.  

APWiL Workshop 2015_Welcome Session
Professor Dixon (left) welcomes participants to the APWiL Workshop 2015.

The session on accountability drew a lively exchange of perspectives with regard to the responsibility of universities, governments and other stakeholders in achieving gender equity. Dr Julie Maxton, Executive Director of the Royal Society and Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland noted that working towards gender equity was both personal and shared responsibility. They expressed the importance of creating and nurturing an environment whereby opportunities for leadership were to be made available regardless of gender. 

"Gender equity is a shared responsibility, it transcends beyond the borders of universities and national governments," said Professor McCutcheon.

APWiL Workshop 2015_Session on Accountability
Dr Maxton (center) responds to a question during the panel session moderated by Ms Trudie McNaughton, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equity (right).

APWiL Workshop 2015_Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon

Vice-Chancellor McCutcheon speaks during the panel session.

Following the round of insightful discussions at the workshop, Dr Maxton also addressed the participants at an APWiL evening event held at UoA's iconic landmark, the Fale Pasifika.

"Diverse teams that include women are considered more effective," explained Dr Maxton while citing a MIT study on collective intelligence.

APWiL Workshop 2015_Dr Maxton
Dr Maxton delivers an inspiring talk at the APWiL dinner event.

The workshop concluded on 11 March with participants reflecting on their key takeaways from the meeting and how these learnings could be applied or implemented at their home institutions. The workshop also sought feedback and ideas on shaping the future direction of the APWiL program.

The University of Auckland is New Zealand's leading and largest university and is actively involved in the APWiL program since its inception in 2013.

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals.

More photos from the workshop can be viewed here