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Women alumni learn strategies and reconnect through interactive leadership workshop

Posted: 2 June 2023

Nepal, Alumni, Gender, Impact,

Eighteen women Australia Awards alumni in leadership roles gathered in Kathmandu on 19 May 2023 for a women’s leadership workshop organised by the Nepal branch of the Australia Awards Women in Leadership Network (WiLN).

Kavitha Kasynathan, Head of Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Nepal, delivered the event opening remarks. “I hope that the skills and conversations that take place today provide new ideas for tackling some of the challenges in your workplaces, sectors and communities, and also help you mentor other women in your workplaces, sectors and communities to recognise their own leadership potential,” Ms Kasynathan said.

The three-hour interactive workshop was led by trainer Dibya Devi Gurung, a gender and inclusion expert. Participants learnt about and discussed how to define women’s leadership, types of leadership practices and leadership challenges. Ms Gurung introduced the concept of how women often get ‘erased’ in their leadership journeys, whether through self-erasure or erasure by others. The workshop concluded with suggested strategies to overcome the challenges that women leaders face.

Alumni Dr Buna Bhandari, Dr Sanu Maiya Shrestha Pradhan and Anupama Mahat participate in the workshop

Alum Dr Buna Bhandari (Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Central Department of Public Health, Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu; PhD in Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales) volunteered as WiLN coordinator for this workshop, spearheading the concept and delivery of the event.

“It has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to coordinate and organise the Women’s Leadership Workshop. The specific needs and aspirations of women leaders guided our workshop design. The workshop provided a safe space for these talented women to share their experiences, exchange ideas and learn from one another, thanks to our facilitator Ms Dibya Gurung. I was inspired by how participants’ confidence and self-belief increased over the course of the workshop,” Dr Bhandari adds.

One of the workshop participants was alum Dr Sanu Maiya Shrestha Pradhan (Chairman, Senior Consultant Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, Creator’s IVF Nepal Pvt Ltd; Master of Science by Research in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Reproductive Medicine), University of New South Wales). Reflecting on her experience, Dr Shrestha Pradhan said, “The workshop was an eye-opening workshop for women like us. I developed clear insight from this workshop to deal with the challenges that I face in my daily performance. It made clear that a good leader should have many qualities. Such workshops are important to upgrade and update our leadership qualities so that we can serve people better.”

Equivalent sentiments were common among the participants. Another alum and participant, Anupama Mahat (academic / development practitioner; Master of Public Policy, Australian National University), said, “This was a useful workshop for women already in leadership roles or for future leaders. The diversity of age, experiences and professional backgrounds among participants was commendable.” Ms Mahat also expressed a desire to continue learning more about the topic through similar workshops in future.

Launched in 2017, WiLN-Nepal is a loose network of female Australia Awards alumni. The network has organised alumni engagement activities such as public lectures, book launches, leadership workshops, panel discussions, and virtual dialogues on contemporary issues around women’s leadership.