Gender equality champion wins at Malaysia alumni awards

Griffith alumnus, Sabrina Aripen, was presented with the 2018 Community Achievement Award at the Malaysian Australian Alumni Council (MAAC) gala dinner in December.

The award recognised her eight-year crusade to raise awareness on gender equality, women’s issues and discrimination in Malaysia.

“I feel very proud and happy to have won the award, especially because I saw how excited my parents were when I told them about the nomination and subsequent win,” she said.

Ms Aripen, founder of non-profit organisation, Society for Equality, Respect and Trust for All (SERATA), aims to dismantle long-held socially constructed gender roles and promote equality through her organisation.

“I am working on bringing more women representation into the workforce and in top-level decision-making posts,” she said.

“I believe one of the ways to do this is to shift the conversation about the responsibilities of parenting and household tasks.”

Ms Aripen enrolled at the University in 2005 after seeing a Griffith billboard advertisement on a Gold Coast family holiday.

“My Dad mentioned the University was one of the best for business studies and that was when my interest was piqued to learn more,” she said.

A few years after completing her Master of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) she became a college lecturer and started volunteering with gender advocacy organisations.

Ms Aripen quickly became involved in gender advocacy campaigning and started using her business expertise to manage projects and campaigns, like SERATA.

“We have started a campaign to highlight the important roles of fathers to advocate for paternity leave,” she said.

Other SERATA projects include facilitating gender bias awareness workshops at workplaces and working with boys at schools to teach them about healthy and respectful manhood.

Ms Aripen is also collaborating with a local business incubator centre to make their co-working spaces more child-friendly and conducive for women entrepreneurs.

“My dream for the future is where women in leadership is no longer the exception but the norm,” she said.