Transforming Women's Leadership

Woman with blonde hair and glasses holding two large bouquets
Sonia Maddock

Our very own Head of Cultural Networks & Communities, Sonia Maddock and UNSW Art Collection Senior Curator, Elena Taylor are co-hosting The Arts working group for the Transforming Women's Leadership Pathways project with the PLuS Alliance.

Watch Sonia's presentation at the final plenary here.

The PLuS Alliance "combines the strengths of three leading research universities on three continents – Arizona State University (ASU), King’s College London (KCL) and UNSW Sydney – to solve global challenges and increase access to world-class higher education in high-need areas."

Transforming Women's Leadership Pathways

While gender equality is improving in higher education institutions, professions and industry, globally women are still in the minority amongst CEOs, board and executive members of major companies, professors and political leaders. This PLuS Alliance digital event brings together opinion shaping professionals and academics to examine the evidence on the critical factors that limit women’s pathways to senior leadership in their fields, and to articulate the practical actions Government, Universities and Industry must take to close the leadership gender gap. 

The Arts Working Group

Throughout October Sonia and Elena are co-hosting The Arts working group, which includes academics and student ambassadors from King's College London, Arizona State University and UNSW, as well as some external representatives from the Australian arts industry such as NIDA, Australia Council, and former Musica Viva CEO Mary Jo Capps. Their working group also includes two student ambassadors from ASU, as representatives of women at the beginning of their leadership journey, one currently in the US and the other undertaking her Masters program from her home in Peru.

Sonia says “the Arts has traditionally been ahead of many sectors at including women in its workforce, but there remains a significant imbalance at the level of decision-makers across the industry, which ties to career obstacles which women tend to encounter along their path. This project doesn’t intend to change the women – it aims to change the pathway for women, to find ways to remove those obstacles and allow for better representation of women at upper levels of the Arts industry across our three nations. It’s an ambitious goal, and I’m delighted to be part of it.

The event launched on Friday 2 October, and the working groups meet each Wednesday morning throughout October. During this time the working groups will develop action plans to revolutionise women’s pathways to senior leadership.

Elena Taylor

Coordinating an event across 17 timezones is no easy feat. For Sydney based participants, Working Group sessions start at 6:30am; 12:30pm in Arizona and 8:30pm for London based participants. So Sonia and Elena are looking forward to many early starts throughout October.

These sessions will culminate with a final plenary on Friday 30 October, at which Sonia and Elena will present our key recommendations for universities, industry and government. 

Elena says "I’m looking forward to sharing experiences with other arts leaders from USA and England and to find practical ways to accelerate and expand women’s pathways to senior leadership in the arts, particularly in this challenging time, and drive real forward change in gender equity.

In addition The Arts working group, the event is also facilitating working groups in Corporate, Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation Higher Education, Media & Communications Medicine, Policy & Politics, Science, and Technology.