Australian Embassy

Australia Supports Women in Leadership

Media Release

26 May 2009

Australia Supports Women in Leadership

Australia is supporting a summit that opens today, which aims to promote and improve women’s equality, decision-making and leadership in the Islamic schools sector.

The Women and Leadership in Islamic Schools Summit, to be held today until 28 May at the Singgasana Hotel, Surabaya, is an initiative under Australia’s Learning Assistance Program for Islamic Schools (LAPIS).

Five Australian Muslim leaders will also attend the summit as part of the Australia-Indonesia Muslim Leaders Exchange program. The forum will give them and other participants a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss the role Indonesian women can play and the challenges they face in leadership and education.

It will also give leaders in education in Indonesia the opportunity to develop plans on how to address access and equity in Islamic education, including targeted madrasah and supporting institutions.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Bill Farmer today welcomed the summit and said he hoped it would further empower women in Islamic education.

“Australia recognises that gender equality is essential for development,” Mr Farmer said. “Our support for this summit reflects our strong commitment towards improved and equitable education outcomes for women and men, girls and boys, especially in the Islamic schools sector.”

The summit will bring together key people from the Islamic schools sector, including teachers, community members, university managers, international development partners, and Indonesian government and non-government organisations.

This summit is part of a A$35 million, five-year Australian initiative to help improve quality of education in Indonesian Islamic schools. Through this initiative, Australia supports Indonesian institutions to improve teacher skills and qualifications, increase equality of learning outcomes for boys and girls in Islamic schools, and enable schools to meet national accreditation standards.

Australia’s international development assistance program recognises that both women and men have a role to play in all aspects of development, including education. Actively supporting women’s full participation in economic, social and political life is a key factor in reducing poverty, enhancing economic growth and democratic governance and increasing the well-being of women, girls and their families.

Media Enquiries:
Sonya Neufeld, AusAID Public Affairs (021) 2550 5609
Mia Salim, AusAID Public Affairs (021) 2550 5490