Despite decades of work towards achieving gender equality, the disparities between men and women across education, income, and economic opportunities worldwide, including in Australia, persist. More recently, the outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly set back these efforts. Recent jobs figures showed in New South Wales alone, women’s employment had fallen by 137,400 since lockdowns were introduced across the State. Women accounted for 63 per cent of all job losses in the state.
To help address this, our philanthropic arm, Google.org, launched a US$25 million global Impact Challenge back in March 2021, calling gender equity-focused organisations to submit their boldest and most innovative ideas to create a more equitable economic reality for women and girls.
Today, Google.org announced the 34 funding recipients of the Impact Challenge from across 19 countries. The response was greater than we have seen for any other Google.org Impact Challenge, with 7,800 applications coming in from more than 160 countries.
We’re extremely proud that two local recipients have been selected as part of this Challenge - Generation Australia and First Australians Capital. They are two of the nine selected recipients from Asia Pacific.
Tamana Aurom, Generation’s Programs Manager who will be leading this initiative
The participation of women in tech is low, with an estimation of about 28% female participation in tech versus 45% across all professional industries. Generation Australia has designed a methodology that addresses employment barriers for women. With this funding, Generation Australia plans to offer skills training focused on tech, confidence building, personal mapping exercises, as well as to provide a mentor to each woman to help build their personal resilience. Generation Australia works with employers to increase employment opportunities and support women in their new roles after placement.
Malcolm Kinns, CEO of Generation Australia, says the funds will be used to support more women entering tech careers, where they are traditionally under-represented, by connecting education and employment outcomes. “There’s huge demand on both sides of the equation. Generation Australia exists to bridge the gap between employers who are struggling to find talent, and motivated people who want to launch careers in in-demand sectors. These funds will help us reach, train and secure employment for women around the country who have traditionally faced barriers to finding any job, let alone one in the tech sector,” says Mr Kinns.
First Australians Capital
Aboriginal people have faced significant challenges to participate in the Australian mainstream economy. Through an impact investment fund, First Australians Capital aims to invest and support Indigenous and women-led businesses, especially in the food value chain, manufacturing, retail, arts, education, and fashion industries. Together with the women entrepreneurs, First Australians Capital reviews each business’s financial performance against the financial metrics that the mainstream financial industry assesses to further improve and integrate the business.
Leah Armstrong, Managing Director of First Australians Capital
Leah Armstrong, Managing Director of First Australians Capital, shared that the funds will be used to provide capital and tailored business support to over 50 Indigenous women-led businesses. “Indigenous businesses possess immense value to the Australian economy. For the past 230 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been largely excluded from participating in the economy. Policies of colonisation have led to poorer economic, social and health outcomes for First Nations communities, particularly women. Our project will demonstrate that investing in women-led enterprises, supporting women entrepreneurs to exercise self-determination and by creating a network for women to access knowledge and resources will positively impact all Australians and the economy.”
To support and advance this investment, Google.org, Google's Accelerator team, and Women Techmakers will run a four-month global virtual accelerator program where highly skilled Googlers will provide pro bono support that includes training, networking, and mentorship.
As we continue to invest in efforts to extend opportunities to women to reach their potential, and enhance their lives and that of their families, communities, and the economy, partnerships with organisations such as these will be key. We’re encouraged by the innovative approaches they are taking and their ongoing impact, and excited to support their work where it matters most.