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February 8, 2023

International Women’s Day: Rachel Sinanan

Having hit the ‘glass ceiling’ in my previous career, I have started my journey to a new career at Deakin as a mature age student. I am not done yet! My learnings are helping me to understand how to SMASH that ceiling in the future, and hopefully help other women to do the same. 

Preferred pronouns: She/Her

Tell us about what International Women’s Day means to you? 

International Women’s Day is a celebration of all women, their diversities and their strength in an ever-changing fast paced world. 

In your time at Deakin, what has been your proudest achievement? 

As a mature age student, over 50, my proudest achievements so far at Deakin have been to start my new career trajectory in a positive way through my ‘learning’ how to study again, and the feelings of empowerment that affords me. I have also been involved in one of the Students as Partners projects, co-creating new units through a triangulated co-design with academics and industry partners, and very proud of this. 

We know discrimination still exists, what are some of the barriers you think that women are facing today that need more attention?  

There is a great deal of focus with governments and organisations to ensure that younger women who have been out of the workforce due to family commitments have opportunities, which is great, but there is a lack of focus on garnering opportunities for women over 50. Many of these women have much to offer and are re-entering the workforce either through change of career or change in circumstances. A focus on this area will benefit both governments and organisations alike. I experienced in my previous career, that once I turned 50, I was ‘put out to pasture’. But, with a great deal to offer, knowledge, experience and skills, I know I am not done yet!   

How do you feel Deakin supports women? 

In all areas, such as classes, seminars, group work and casual roles within the university, I have found everyone to be respectful, and really listen to what I have to say. The active listening is something very powerful across the entire university. 

What are some of the ways someone can help drive a gender equal future?  

There are many ways, but I think one of the most important ways is to explain the benefits of equality, across not just gender but all marginalised groups. Arguing and becoming angry with those who do not consider equality as beneficial is not going to help them understand, so helping them carefully to understand all the benefits is the way forward. We need to encourage those around us that just because we are women over 50… WE ARE NOT DONE YET. 

Explore our other International Women’s Day profiles here

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