The Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Program (APWiL) is set to continue its important work with the confirmation of Professor Dawn Freshwater as the new APWiL Presidential Champion. Professor Freshwater, who serves as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, is a member of the APRU Steering Committee, has been an advocate for gender equity in higher education, and is a supporter of the APWiL Mentoring Program. A globally recognized leader in world-class universities for several decades, she became the University of Auckland’s first female Vice-Chancellor in 2020 after serving as the University of Western Australia’s Vice-Chancellor and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Registrar for six years. Professor Freshwater was the first female Chair of the Go8 Research Intensive Universities in Australia. She is also a member of Chief Executive Women (CEW) and Global Women New Zealand.
“We are happy to have confirmed a new Champion who has such an extremely strong track record of pushing for gender equity while also being very familiar with the work of the APWiL Mentoring Program” said APWiL Co-Chair Professor Joanna Regulska “We believe Professor Freshwater will be an extraordinary advocate for the goals of APWiL and our signature mentoring program.”
The APWiL Mentoring Program was launched in 2020 in response to the APRU 2019 Gender Gap report finding that Pacific Rim universities had made little progress in advancing women into university leadership positions during the previous 5-year period, despite a number of initiatives at the university level.
By pairing mentors and mentees across economies for mutually inspiring exchanges under a year-long commitment, the APWiL Mentoring Program offers leaders at APRU universities an opportunity to grow the pipeline of aspiring women leaders. It encourages participants to take on the many challenges that aspiring women leaders are still facing within the region.
The APWiL Mentoring Program is currently more than halfway through the 3rd cohort, which involves 45 mentoring pairs from 24 institutions. In addition to the one-on-one mentoring relationships, the program has also held three seminars so far for the 3rd cohort, on the topics of imposter syndrome, intersectionality, and effective communication and negotiation within leadership.
“It has been an amazing journey with our 3rd cohort so far. Participation in the three seminars has been encouraging, inspiring, and stimulating. This mentoring program provides a safe space to discuss struggles and successes that are pertinent to women, as well as providing a fantastic opportunity to learn from successful women and men leaders” said APWiL Co-Chair Professor Yvonne Lim.
The program can be possible thanks to the collaboration of all partners and a nuclear international APWiL Mentoring Team integrated by Kimberly Bellows, Chelsey Hawes, and Joanna Regulska from UC Davis; Yvonne Lim from Universiti Malaya; and Adriana Rojas and David Quimbayo from the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).
While institutional recruitment for the 4th cohort of the program is now closed, the APWiL Mentoring Program team encourages interested members of the APRU network to consider joining this important gender equity initiative in the future.