The proposed project examines the experience of Indonesian Women Alumni and leadership. We draw on the same definition as the ODE Report, to refer to women’s leadership as a process of women mobilising people and resources in pursuit of shared and negotiated goals within government, private sector and civil society. In particular, as clearly stated in the ODE Report, ‘There was broad support among alumnae interviewed for post- scholarship leadership development for women in their home environment’ (2015: 4). Leadership training program for women in their home environment is indeed crucial. This project is important as it is in line with Australia’s development policy, its investment in women’s leadership and provides much needed and research informed understanding of post-award experiences of women and their leadership aspirations. Further, the research is significant in bringing together a spatial and temporal perspective – focusing on the place of both the host society and ‘home environment’ and the issue of during and post-study experience in shaping their understandings and experiences of leadership. Also, the research design has incorporated a reflexive, self-analysis component of women’s experiences in leadership and/or the challenges and opportunities that they identify for themselves. This will enable informing a more nuanced understanding of individual women’s challenges and opportunities.
It is important to note also that in much of the literature on women’s leadership, there is a prioritization on addressing structural and naturally inherent barriers for women’s leadership. For instance, Slaughter (2013) in her article on the United State of America setting, explains that ‘very few women reach leadership positions’, and this will only grow smaller if the women decide to take time out, or drop out of professional competition
altogether, to raise children’. The author also explains the tendency that ‘along the way, women should think about the climb to leadership not in terms of a straight upward slope, but as irregular stair steps due to their family situation. Such reasons (and other reasons that will be explored in this proposed research), often become barriers for women’s leadership. Importantly, ODE’s recommendation following the 2015 report, that ‘in each country at least half of scholarships should be awarded to women” is a good sign, as this will enhance women presence and positive experience and exposure. As argued in a recent book, it is found that both men and women are susceptible to negative experiences when their sex is under represented (Powell 2019:126), including in leadership position.