Women's Leadership Program

Australia Awards – Mongolia supports alumni through networking and other professional development activities. Women alumni face different challenges from men in fully using their new skills, including access to senior leadership positions. Data on women's leadership in Mongolia show that, despite more women completing tertiary education than men, few women occupy senior leadership and decision-making positions, relative to the numbers of women in the workforce.

The Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) is dedicated funding through the Australia Awards-Mongolia to improve and foster opportunities for women to access senior, decision-making, leadership positions.

Program overview

The WLP provides leadership and development opportunities for up to 20 female and male alumni delivered in three components:

    • An eight-month leadership and professional development program in Mongolia for all participants
    • A two-week intensive fellowship in Australia for selected participants
    • Capacity building in Mongolia to deliver leadership and gender-sensitive training.

The WLP will contribute to the Program alumni's leadership and professional development in ways that support the overall goal and objectives of the Australia Awards Mongolia. It will:

    • Improve leadership and decision-making skills.
    • Support alumni to broaden their knowledge of issues important to Mongolia’s future.
    • Support alumni to access opportunities to contribute to and influence the future of Mongolia.
    • Support alumni to establish, develop and expand diverse personal and professional networks.
    • Support alumni to develop links between Australia and Mongolia.
    • Support alumni to strengthen their understanding of gender equality, particularly as it relates to leadership.

WLP will improve women's equality of opportunity to access senior leadership positions by involving men and women. Men's participation reflect the alumni ratio: 70% women and 30% men.

WLP activities in Mongolia
Participants will commit up to 18 days (approximately 2.5 days per month) over eight months with most activities held outside work hours to minimise disruption in the workplace.

Introductory retreat and leadership training: Alumni have their first networking opportunity as they are introduced to core components of effective leadership.

Lunch forums: Lunch forums offer opportunities for alumni to hear and question prominent business, government and community leaders about their challenges and triumphs, lessons learned, obstacles overcome, ethical issues faced and work-life balance.

Networking event with Australian businesses: These promote links between Australia and Mongolia, through networking events between alumni and Australian business leaders in Mongolia.

Seminars: Seminars present opportunities for alumni to hear from leaders and experts to strengthen their understandings of current issues in Mongolia.

Presentation skills and public speaking training: Alumni will be trained in presentation and public speaking skills and opportunities to apply them.

Field trip: Alumni will interact with local leaders, experiencing first-hand their drive and determination and creative ways they respond to challenges.

Community project: Alumni will self-select into teams to develop Community Development Projects aimed at promoting gender equality.

Gender training: Alumni will be trained on gender-based barriers to leadership, gender and policy-making and the role of men in gender equality.

Leadership training (integrated into WLP components): Alumni will be trained in core skills for successful leadership such as team work, strategic thinking and communication.

Closing ceremony: A final workshop and graduation ceremony will bring alumni together to reflect on their experiences and share lessons learned.   

WLP activities in Australia
At the end of the in-Mongolia component, up to 10 participants will selected on application and performance through the WLP activities to join a Fellowship in Australia, delivered as an intensive two-week leadership course.

This will build on the in-Mongolia component and target individuals to accelerate their capacity to lead, collaborate, influence and become effective leaders.

Networking: Alumni will meet leaders in their fields in specially-arranged events.

Mentoring and partnering: An Australian mentor with similar interests or industry experience will meet with participants during the fellowship to explore topics such as career development, work-life balance, leadership challenges and technical issues.

Industry/organisational site visits and seminars: Seminars and panel discussions delivered by expert community, industry, research, political and business leaders with questions, discussions and interactions.

Gender training: Building on the gender training in Mongolia; this will focus on sharing practical strategies to address structural, social and cultural barriers to women's leadership. 

Capacity Building
The Australian provider will develop and implement leading-edge leadership programs that focus on women's leadership and address gender-based barriers to leadership and share this with the in-Mongolia provider.. 

Participant selection
Alumni must demonstrate a willingness to strengthen their understanding of gender issues in Mongolia and commit to supporting women's leadership. In addition alumni must:

    • be recipients of an Australian Awards Scholarship (or earlier version)
    • be employed (including self-employed). Women returning from maternity leave will be eligible
    • commit to the eight months' participation
    • participate in follow-up monitoring
    • demonstrate a supportive working and family environment to participate.

There are two aspects to sustainability:

    • How the WLP contributes to the overall Program sustainability
    • Measures built into the WLP to promote its sustainability

The WLP is an opportunity for Australia to foster and strengthen its relationship with future Mongolian leaders. Networking events with Australian businesses in Mongolia and the in-Australia component will strengthen links between Australia and Mongolia. 

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
M&E tasks are built into the WLP, focusing on its contribution to Program objectives, especially the degree to which it supports:

    • improved alumni leadership and decision-making skills
    • alumni to broaden knowledge of issues important to Mongolia’s future
    • opportunities for alumni to contribute to and influence the future of Mongolian society
    • alumni to establish, develop and expand diverse personal and professional networks
    • alumni to develop links between Australia and Mongolia.


Women’s Leadership Program Newsletter

Since its launch in Septermber 2017, the 2017-18 Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) has been runnning successfully for the past 4 months. Participants have attended lunch forums with distinguished leaders from key sectors, skill-building seminars, and networking events.

The WLP held two lunch forums with women leaders at the forefront of various industries, including Ms Catherine Arnold, UK Ambassador and Ms Undraa, Member of Parliament. The lunch forums touched on personal leadership styles, women’s leadership in politics and diplomacy and current challenges facing women leaders.

Lunch forum with Ms Undraa Member of Parliament 16 November 2017

To complement the lunch forums, the Zorig Foundation organized a Women’s Empowerment Forum in early November to discuss challenges faced by female leaders. The forum saw leading female CEOs and female change-makers participate in a Q&A session and panel discussion. Over 300 people attended the forum.

Project Pitch and Networking event Womens leadership panel discussion with leader women of Mongolia Corporate Convention Center 27 November 2017

The WLP has also conducted several seminars over the past four months on topics including time management, project management, networking skills, fundraising and gender mainstreaming. These hands-on seminars have proven effective in assisting participants accept more challenges to become better leaders.

Seminar on Networking by Ms S Oyun 27 October 2017

A key feature of the WLP is the Community Development Projects that participants design and implement over the course of the program. This component enriches participants overall experience with the program, enabling them to put their newly acquired skills into practice and to contribute to advancing their communities. This year project teams introduced their respective projects at a Project Pitch event where they networked with stakeholders and potential donors. There are four 4 project teams: “Smog and Kids”, “Wildfire Prevention Campaign”, “Music Space” and “Empowerment of People with Disabilities”.

Project pitch and Networking event Team presentation 27 November 2017

Women's Leadership Program Launch Orientation Retreat

The fourth Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) commenced with a three-day Orientation Retreat which launched on 15 September 2017 with 20 participants (3 men and 17 women) selected from graduates of the Australia Awards Mongolia Program (AAM). The retreat has two core objectives: improving leadership and decision-making skills, and increasing awareness of gender equality. The event coincided with the 45th anniversary of Australia–Mongolia diplomatic relations, as highlighted by Mr Shayne McKenna from the Australian Embassy in Mongolia, in his opening remarks.

The WLP is a component of the AAM. It has more than 60 participants from previous programs and aims to improve leadership capacity and professional development. The WLP provides a comprehensive leadership and development program through activities focused on helping participant develop their unique, gender-aware leadership styles. Participants have opportunities and are supported to design and implement personalized community development projects, addressing issues close to their hearts.

The orientation provided a context for the entire program. It aims to improve participants’ self-awareness, leadership and team-building skills through a range of exercises, and expand their knowledge of gender equality by considering and discussing gender-related issues. Ms Carolyn Peterken (Queensland University of Technology) and Mr Walt Jenkins (Zorig Foundation) facilitated the leadership and team building sessions, while Ms Oyuntsetseg Oidov (Gender specialist) delivered a seminar on gender equality.  


In session: WLP 2017

In process: team building activities

Women's Leadership Program 2017 Newsletter – 3

On Friday 2 June 2017, eighteen inspiring women leaders graduated from this year’s Women’s Leadership Program (WLP). In a ceremony at Monet Restaurant, the participants were acknowledged by His Excellency John Langtry, Australia’s Ambassador to Mongolia, for their efforts and contribution to this year’s program, and their high-quality community development projects.


For the past eight months the participants engaged in a rigorous leadership and self-development training program. They were provided with a comprehensive program that included topics such as effective communication and time management, met influential women in business, government and politics, visited leading business organizations and implemented community development projects.
Community development projects are a special feature of the WLP. They help participants to contribute to addressing some pressing social issues in Mongolia. The 2017 projects were Healthy Pregnancy, Wonder Box, Safe Route to School, and From Disability to Ability. All projects were completed successfully within their scheduled timeframe and commended for their impacts.


Additionally, 10 participants were selected for an in-Australia Fellowship component in Brisbane, Queensland in June 2017. This two week intensive program will build on the in-Mongolia component and target participants’ individual needs to develop leadership skills and amplify their ability to collaborate, influence and become effective leaders. It will link participants with leaders and organizations in Australia relevant to their experience and allow opportunities for participants to compare and contrast the Australian experience with Mongolia and create further links between Mongolia and Australia.


Additional information