Tipping the Gender Imbalance

There are complex social and economic barriers to women’s advancement in leadership. Add to that, gender stereotypes and diverse social norms of the many cultures spanning the Pacific Rim, and we see wide implementation gaps in gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives.

In academia, the glass ceiling and the gender pay gap continue to block the advancement and participation of women in leadership. The 2019 Gender Gap report by APRU – which surveyed 40 leading universities in the region – found that women in Pacific Rim universities have made little progress in moving into university leadership positions over the past five years, despite a raft of initiatives at the university level.

As leaders, the universities of APRU are committed to leading by example, addressing gender imbalances on their own turf through various initiatives. The Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Program (APWiL) aims to drive change in gender equality while taking into account the various contexts in which this pursuit for gender equity takes place across APRU member universities.

Case studies presented by APRU member universities have shown the great work that is taking place to address challenges in gender equality. At the same time, we are hearing of a growing global backlash that investment in women’s education does not result in the increased contribution by women to the workforce. 

APWiL Mentoring Program

The APWiL Mentoring Program matches mentors and mentees from APRU member universities to provide international and intercultural opportunities for the empowerment, professional growth, and development of aspiring women leaders. 

Learn more about the APWiL Mentoring Program and its 5th Cohort (2024-2025) here.


Meet our APWiL Mentoring Program Alumni and read their testimonials by clicking on the links below:

APWiL Mentoring Program Pilot 2020 Alumni

APWiL Mentoring Program 2nd Cohort Alumni

APWiL Mentoring Program 3rd Cohort Alumni


Dawn Freshwater
APWiL Presidential Champion, The University of Auckland
Joanna Regulska
Co-Chair, University of California, Davis
Yvonne Ai-Lian Lim
Co-Chair, Universiti Malaya
Akiyo Okuda
Keio University
Inés Sáenz Negrete
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Mai Har Sham
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Katherine Belov
 The University of Sydney
Yong Zulina Zubairi
Universiti Malaya
Suat Yan Lai
Universiti Malaya
Cindy Fan
University of California, Los Angeles
Denise Konan
University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Derlie Mateo-Babiano
University of Melbourne
Marby Villaceran
University of the Philippines
Ximena M. Córdova
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Chelsey Hawes
APWiL Mentoring Program Manager
Dawn M Takaoglu
APWiL Mentoring Program Manager
Glynis Kincaid
APWiL Mentoring Program Manager
Adriana Rojas
APRU International Secretariat
David Guillermo Quimbayo
APRU International Secretariat
APRU Presidents’ Statement on Gender Equity and Diversity
Leaders at the APRU Annual Presidents’ Meeting agree to ratify the APRU Statement on Gender Equity and Diversity. The meeting took place at the University of Malaya in 2016. APRU Presidents’ Statement We believe that universities enhance their contribution to society through accessing the talents of diverse communities. APRU has the opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership, both within and outside the network, to advance equity and diversity across its member universities. We recognize that our universities operate within different contexts and are at different points in progressing these objectives. As university presidents we see consensus on policy principles as an opportunity to unify the network and demonstrate the added value of an international alliance. We therefore endorse the following principles: Diversity at all levels is a key factor in the success of universities. The achievement of diversity requires a commitment to promoting equity and bringing about the associated changes that result in positive and powerful outcomes. APRU universities will work towards making gender equity an integral part of their diversity strategy, organizational structure and culture including their strategic objectives and senior accountabilities. APRU universities will develop a clear, consistent and sustainable policy framework appropriate to their diverse contexts that guides, promotes and reinforces their commitment to gender equity and diversity. APRU universities will commit to collecting and using data to measure progress and inform future strategy and policy. APRU Presidents Kuala Lumpur June 2016

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