Female Sri Lankan Government leaders working to break the glass ceiling

29 Jan 2019

The University of Queensland is supporting female Sri Lankan Government officials in combating under-representation in senior leadership positions through a customised Australia Awards Short Course delivered by UQ International Development.

Sri Lankan Government leaders

Participants from the Australia Awards Women in Executive Leadership Development Program (Sri Lanka) Short Course

The Australia Awards Women in Executive Leadership Development Program (Sri Lanka) Short Course is the third iteration of a specialised course in leadership to be offered by UQ International Development to participants from the South and West Asia region.

The Short Course, supported by funding from the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will build the capacity of emerging Sri Lankan female leaders to make informed choices about leadership styles and approaches. In doing so, it will provide participants with the skills needed to overcome the stereotypes that influence the interests and motivations of women to participate as leaders in the public service.

Dallas Dowsett, UQID Deputy Director, said the twenty three officials would utilise the knowledge and skills gained from the Short Course to develop and implement a Return to Work Plan (RWP) appropriate to their work context in Sri Lanka.

“Through a customised and action-based learning approach, participants are developing negotiation, conflict resolution and change management skills to help them manage difficulties and overcome roadblocks in their careers”.

“The course also facilitates opportunities for the group to connect with leading academics and industry leaders who provided inspirational ways of thinking about leadership issues relevant to female managers”.

“I’m confident that the participants will return home with enhanced capacity for leadership, and will act as mentors and coaches for emerging female leaders in their workplace.”

Ms Jeevani Siriwardena, Director-General of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, is looking to learn about the problems and issues relating to women moving up to leadership roles in organisations.

“For me in particular, I hope to learn to be a better leader, through interactive sessions and sharing experiences, and to gain insights into how to implement my RWP”, she said.

Ms Ruwanthi Ariyaratne, Deputy Director of the Sri Lankan Department of Commerce, said she is looking forward to learning new approaches, ideas and ways forward from the experienced delivery team during the course.

“I hope that I can learn and improve the skills necessary to undertake leadership roles in the future and to successfully work with teams, both in my workplace and with outside organisations”, she said.

“I hope I can take what I learnt back home and use it to contribute to my Department’s work and the policy objectives of my country,” said Ms Ariyaratne.

The third and final component of the course will be completed in March 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Australia Awards are prestigious international Scholarships, Fellowships and Short Courses funded by the Australian Government.

Australia Awards Short Courses offer the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development opportunities in support of key development and foreign affairs priorities, while building people-to-people links in Australia.