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Partnering to deliver targeted financial literacy education for Women on Boards

A program launched this year by the University of Newcastle is helping to bridge the gender equality gap on Australian Boards.

The Women on Boards program was delivered by the Research and Innovation Division’s Research Advantage team to offer targeted training to women at the University to empower and upskill them for positions on Boards locally and nationally.

Filled via a competitive expression of interest, the six-month program offered a range of specific training sessions that provided participants with experience and expertise delivered by local industry leaders.

A common theme through every session was the importance of financial literacy for board members.

The Research Advantage team was thrilled to combine the talents of Greater Bank Deputy Chair, Jayne Drinkwater, and Newcastle Business School’s Kevin Craft, in a hands-on Zoom session for participants.

Drawing on Jayne’s extensive board experience to deliver a financial literacy workshop for future women board members, allowed participants to see first-hand that it is possible to achieve their aspirations. Jayne was also able to provide a clear and concise explaination of the jargon, financial aspects and responsibilities of board membership.

While many researchers are responsible for managing budgets on research projects and within their departments, reviewing entire Financial Sheet statements is new territory for many.

As such, this Financial Literacy for Women on Boards session was targeted to provide an introduction to financial literacy for boards and enable the participants to confidently and proficiently face the financials of any organisation they may serve.

University of Newcastle stroke-researcher, Professor Coralie English, found this hands-on session so extremely valuable.

“The program served to demystify and decode the more impenetrable aspects of finance. Normally when I see a financial spreadsheet my eyes would glaze over and I'd have no idea how to read it, but now I feel empowered to be able to identify the key aspects because it was decoded for me,”

Professor Coralie English, University of Newcastle stroke researcher.

"I now feel I know enough that I know where to look, and I am confident to ask questions because I know what questions to ask."

The program is now continuing with a second cohort underway, with Jayne and Kevin set to share their skills in early 2022.

In 2018, Newcastle Business School and Greater Bank began a five-year partnership to improve the financial literacy and wellbeing of our community. To date a number of high schools, senior citizens and university students have been involved one of the free financial literacy education programs offered through the collaboration.

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