The World YWCA has been working in collaboration with Monash University since 2021, to research on young women’s leadership and challenges in the Asia and the Pacific region. This is in close conjunction with the work being done in the form of the RiseUp! Leadership Initiative, a young women’s transformative leadership flagship program led by World YWCA and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia.
While gender-based inequalities and social practices around patriarchy is a global problem, the Asia-Pacific region is traditionally known to be replete with these challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic since 2020, climate justice & issues of peace and (in)security have further fueled and exacerbated existing challenges making it difficult for many women, young women and girls to engage, participate and be represented in decision making and leadership spaces. The meaningful representation, participation, engagement and leadership of young women in this region, therefore, is pivotal in navigating these major challenges.
As leaders, young women foster cultures of gender equality and inclusion, and contribute by bringing their unique knowledge, skills, values and lived experiences to decision-making forums, build networks of young people that can collect, collate, analyse, disseminate, use knowledge of rights, social justice, and resources, and imagine positive and transformative change in their communities. At this time of multiple crises, their leadership is essential to forge intergenerational, sustainable and inclusive responses to global challenges.
The Monash research seeks to better understand the substance, impact and barriers of young women’s leadership in nine countries in Asia and the Pacific across four crisis issues- peace and justice, Covid-19 recovery, climate resilience and response to violence against women and girls (VAWG). These countries are: Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal.
This is a two-year project that works with young women peer researchers in nine countries across the region. Part of the data collection (focus group discussions) will take place during RiseUp! trainings. The findings from the study are expected to further inform and influence the implementation of the RiseUp! program in the region.
In the true feminist spirit of participation and co-creation, the research utilizes a feminist participatory methodology where young women co-lead the process at all stages- inception, scope and design, data collection, analysis, validation and publication.
The research is at its final stage where the nine young women peer researchers from the nine countries are presently completing their data collection. Simultaneously, an online survey is also being conducted with 300 young women across the region to gain deeper insights on their experiences of leadership around these issues. It is expected that initial analysis of data will be completed by February and preliminary findings shared by March 2023.
If you are a young woman, aged between 18 and 30 years, residing in any part of the world and interested in sharing your opinion on global challenges affecting women in your region, do take time out to participate in the survey through this link.