‘Funding Social Enterprises in Australia and narrowing the knowledge gap - Improving Social Impact Measurement and Social Impact Bonds’

Zoe attended the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris. She is currently studying a Bachelor of International and Global Studies at the University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and in the near future will be working in Indonesia with the Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction Program.


In order to foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and financial stability, communities need to have confidence in markets and institutions. It is imperative to stress that this growth must be both sustainable and inclusive in order to recreate this sense of security. A relatively new and innovative solution are social enterprises. These are organisations that run like a business, although they have goals and values equal to those of a charity. Social enterprises generate creative solutions to complex social issues, and are, more often than not, driven by the local community. Community-driven change is imperative, and by empowering individuals and local communities to take initiative to create businesses it will lead to greater social reform and recreate confidence in the market.

Although they are a relatively new concept in Australia, the community is rapidly expanding. With this expected growth comes an increase in opportunity for the Australian government to utilize this innovation to achieve the most effective and sustainable social outcomes. Social impact bonds are also growing in popularity around the world, especially in countries where much of welfare is privatised for example the UK and US. There is an increasing body of research that is investigating effective ways of measuring social impact, however, they are not necessarily communicating with enterprises who need effective measurement strategies. Additionally, social impact bonds provide a way for the government to invest in solutions that have proven the intended social outcome. However, for these bonds to be the most effective there needs to be a thorough understanding of the appropriate uses of social impact measurement. 

To productively shape the future for social enterprises in Australia, this paper provides two specific policy recommendations. Firstly, to utilise the wealth of knowledge on social enterprises in Europe by connecting with them through a conference. This conference should focus on social impact measurement and should connect academics, government, and social entrepreneurs. And secondly, to expand the current piolet programs for social impact bonds to create more sustainable funding methods for social enterprises. In addition, with social impact bonds, the government is only paying for programs which have proven results. 

Read More

‘Digital literacy; a powerful tool for the advancement and empowerment of women’

Anna attended the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women 62 (CSW62) in 2018. She is currently studying a Masters of International Business at RMIT University and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce. As well as this she is currently working as a data analyst at the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


The significance of incorporating women into the workforce has never been more apparent. Not only in terms of its impact on the productivity of an economy but equally the social impact it has on a country. Previous generations of women have fought hard to place the women of today in such a position. As boldly stated by Hausmann, Tyson and Zahidi (2008), ‘a nation’s competitiveness depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilises its female talent’. In developed nations, women have the opportunity to gain an education, work full-time and even contribute to the family dynamic. Yet still, women fall behind in key statistics such as participation rates and workforce utilisation rates. 

Undertaking analysis of key Australian government reports and statistical findings, this paper seeks to identify the primary areas in which women are falling behind in relation to utilisation and participation in the workforce. These findings will underpin recommendations for policy changes and harmonisation in digital literacy as one targeted solution in tackling lower participation and inclusion of women.

Read More

“My issues would be somebody’s dinner time conversation”: The social barriers women face to access sexual and reproductive health services in rural and regional Australia

Justine attended the United Nations' Commission of the Status of Women 62 (CSW62) in 2018 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) at the University of Sydney. She is also the current editor of Australia’s most famous student newspaper, Honi Soit, and have led groundbreaking investigations into campus sexual assault that have contributed to institutional change.


This paper argues that Australia’s existing policy framework for addressing adolescent access to sexual health services attempts to mitigate the geographical and practical barriers for rural and regional young women, but fails to address the social and cultural barriers they face.

The first part of this paper will canvass the social barriers for women to access sexual health services in regional Australia and examine the effectiveness of existing policies to address these barriers. The second part of this paper recommends the adoption of government policies that encourage the provision of sexual health services within public high schools. 

Read More

Empowering Indigenous females in rural Australia through technology in the classroom

Kiera attended the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women in 2018. She is studying a Bachelor of Arts and Economics at the University of Sydney and has had the opportunity to study abroad in India, France, Vietnam and Denmark.


Rural Indigenous females are amongst the most disadvantaged populations in Australia. 

Despite the progress made through the Australian Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ campaign, not all goals have been met, and statistics show that Indigenous Australians continue to achieve lower education attainment and employment. 

There is a large scope to improve the current situation of Indigenous females in rural Australia, who face intersectional disadvantage to increase education, employment and empowerment. Education and digital literacy, supported by communications technologies, is widely acknowledged as an effective means of empowerment. 

Increasing frequency and scope of technology in the classroom in rural Australia, supported by adequate services and infrastructure, and substantial input from Indigenous communities provides a path to empowering Indigenous females. 

Read More

Gender stereotyping in the media: contributing to gender inequality

Rebekah attended the United Nation's Commission on the Status of the Women (CSW62) in 2018. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Law at Central Queensland University (CQU).


The portrayal of women is paramount to influencing cultural attitudes and educating the generations towards a gender equal future. As we are living in a digital age, the media has the potential and power to influence a culture which empowers and celebrates women. 

The current portrayal of women in the media falls short of Australia’s commitment towards encouraging women into leadership and influence in the country. The media is too often reinforcing gender stereotypes and sexualized images of women. A disappointing, yet prime example can be seen from the frequent sexist remarks of Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The media often focussed on her looks, sexual attractiveness and family situation in conjunction with her political movements (Trimble, 2018). The portrayal of women needs to be altered in a way that prevents exploitation and the degradation of women.  Rather than reinforcing gender stereotypes, the media ought to be utilized as an outreach platform to inspire and encourage women.

The current advertising system is too lenient and lacks any form of accountability. A strategic move is for Australia to revolutionize the standards of advertising involving women.  

This paper discusses the issues associated with the media’s exploitation and degradation of women, thereby affecting women’s choices, aspirations and advancement in Australia. This paper recommends creating firm monitoring systems and punitive actions to achieve unity and equality.

Read More