First DAWN Event: Yin and Yang Talk on Gender and Leadership for Asian Australians

 In AALC, Leadership

There’s a saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. How much does our parents actually influence us, in terms of our upbringing and the values that we grew up with that we then carry well into adulthood?

This was one of the things that was addressed today at the Yin Yang talk about how does gender play a role in the Asian Australian leadership. Asians generally are being brought up by their parents to keep your head down and study. Working hard and having a deep respect for authority are highly valued amongst the Asian community. And these values carry well into adulthood.

One of the interesting things that came up was after university or when you start your job/ career, especially for Asian women is that you found yourself hitting both the glass ceiling and the bamboo ceiling. This could be attributed to many things, such as when women hit a certain age and they start to have a family, some women would rather focus on rearing their newborn/ young kids and this meant that they have to sometimes either take some time off work (maternity leave) or they decide to work less hours by working part time. This could prevent them from advancing their career further in the corporate sector where usually the higher up you go, the more demanding your work is and that requires more hours at work.

The other factor is due to our upbringing, where not only Asians are being brought up to work hard but also, we are not allowed to fail. Failure is simply just not an option, for fear of losing face for themselves and also of their parents. With this kind of pressure, during a meeting, unless we have something really important/ useful to say, we would rather keep it to ourselves. This gives Asian Australians a setback because we can’t always wait for someone to tap us on the shoulder and ask us for our opinion. We need to change and we need to learn on how to seize the opportunity when it comes.

So tonight I asked, what are the top 3 tips for Asian Australians to advance their career?

First is to sharpen your presentation skill, this will make you more confident and thus allows you to participate more in conversations and in meetings

Secondly, be aware of your environment. How you speak and behave might be perceived differently by people from different culture. To make the most from every opportunity/ conversation, you need to be aware of how you would be perceived by people around you

Finally, seize every opportunity, if you see your boss a couple of metres away from you, don’t shy away from them, approach them and talk to them, start the conversation. Don’t be afraid and don’t be afraid to fail, just give it a go!

This talk tonight at St James Ethics Centre was organized by DAWN, a social enterprise that promotes culturally diverse leadership, started by Dai Le, a one time politician and ex ABC journalist.

*This article was written by Beatrix Tanuwidjaja for http://localcultureguide.com/. Original article can be found here: http://localcultureguide.com/2015/05/27/first-dawn-event-yin-and-yang-talk-on-gender-and-leadership-for-asian-australians/

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