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Scholarships and women’s leadership: power, privilege and measurement

Ashlee analysed a recent evaluation of the impact of Australia Award scholarships on women’s leadership in developing countries. While overall, she felt the evaluation was positive, she highlighted gaps in the analysis and in the use of tracer studies of former scholarship recipients.

The tracer studies, as interpreted by this evaluation, allow measurement of leadership in three main ways: whether the individual was promoted on return from their scholarship; whether they had increased responsibilities; and whether they were transferring skills to others through formal or informal channels.

This is leadership narrowly defined—it does little to tell us about women’s true influence or power (recent ODI research shows this does not necessarily go hand and hand with increasing access to higher positions), and it doesn’t venture beyond career development markers to look at women’s leadership in a broader, contextual sense.

Read the full blog post here.

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Debating the point of international volunteering

Ashlee participated in a panel event at the University of Melbourne on 19 November 2015, hosted by the Australian Red Cross, to debate the merits of international volunteering.

The event was titled ‘Dispelling the White Knight Complex’. Panellists included: Marc Purcell, ACFID; Peter Devereux, Curtin University; Ashlee Betteridge, Development Policy Centre; and Chrisanta Muli, Oxfam Australia. The event was chaired by broadcaster Tracee Hutchison.

Summary of discussion here.

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Women, the workforce, resources and violence: getting PNG companies to respond

Ashlee interviewed Dr Linda van Leeuwen on the role of the private sector in combatting and responding to family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea.

Something that I would really like resource companies to do is to actually reconceptualise gender violence, not just as a community problem or a law and order problem, or a private matter to be dealt with away from the workplace, but as a workplace safety issue.Linda van Leeuwen

Read the full interview on Devpolicy Blog.

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Coverage of cuts to Australian Volunteer program in 2015 budget

Ashlee analysed the impact of the 30 per cent cut to the Australian Volunteers for International Development in the 2015 Federal Budget on the Devpolicy Blog.

In an analysis piece, she looked at what the cut could mean for the future of the program.

Consolidation seems to be the only logical step. But even then, hard decisions will be needed: fewer volunteers to Asia or fewer to the Pacific? If cost is the criterion – and it is hard to see why it wouldn’t be – the Pacific is bound to lose out.”

Read the full post here.

Ashlee also covered updates on the program post-budget on the blog–see below.

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More details on the Australian Volunteers cuts

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Women’s economic empowerment and Australian aid: more work to be done

Ashlee Betteridge and Stephen Howes review the Office of Development Effectiveness Evaluation on women’s economic empowerment and Australian aid.

One confusion this report gives important insight on, though doesn’t resolve, is in relation to the gender target for projects. The Minister’s speech says that 80 per cent of projects should be “focused on support and empowerment of women” (and that “all” should “address gender issues”). If that’s the case, the aid program is in trouble. The report reveals that only 55 per cent of aid projects have gender as a significant or principal objective. The other 45 per cent are not focused on gender equality.

Read the full post here.