One of the flagship programs of the Australia Awards Indonesia in 2017 is the Short Term Awards on Women Leadership Development for Islamic Women Leaders. This prestigious program selected 30 participants from hundreds of applications of women leaders from various backgrounds of women's and professional organizations, such as Islamic Universities, Governments, Political Parties, and community organizations. The program focuses on empowering women as key actors in improving the economy, social and cultural development of their organizations, and society in general, and in order to build a global network for future women leaders, said Widya Listyowulan, Senior Manager of Short Term Awards.
Among the 30 female leaders, four came from UIN Sunan Kalijaga, namely: Witriani (Head of PSW / P2GHA, lecturer of Faculty of Adab and Culture), Zusiana Ely Triantini (KIJ, lecturer of Shari'ah and Law Faculty), Lien Iffah Naf'Atu Fina (Faculty of Ushuluddin and Islamic Thought), and Siti Nur Hidayah (Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training). Other participants came from various institutions such as IMMIM, Aisyiah, Muslimat, Fatayat NU, Nasyiatul Aisiyah, PTIQ, IPMAFA, Rumah Kitab, Univ. Muhammadiyah Jakarta, Univ. Muhammadiyah Mataram, IAIN Sheikh Nurjati, Komnas Perempuan Jakarta, DPP PKS, CepDes, UIN Walisongo Semarang, UNUGIRI Bojonegoro, and IAI Darussalam Banyuwangi.
The Australia Awards Program consists of three activities, 3 days of pre-award workshops in Makassar (14-16 / 8/17), 2 week course at Deakin University, Australia, and 3 days post-course in Indonesia. Each participant is asked to design a project for the empowerment of women in their respective institutions. Women empowerment is a crucial because in many cases women have a better ability than men, but due to cultural, socio-economic, as well as theological barriers, their participation are often challenged. "The organization will advance faster if it is able to maximize the full potential of men and women." Said Richard Mathew, Consul General of the Australian Embassy in Makassar, opened the pre-award workshop at the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton Makassar (14/8/17) .
Lies Marcoes, one of the participants from Rumah Kitab said that this project is very important to create gender sensitive policies through network and media management. She underlined the need for more women who write, "more women have to write" so that women's voices are heard from various media.
The pre-course workshop, intensively, was guided by prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh and Annemarie Ferguson from Deakin University Australia, starting with personal leadership journey, key concept to become female leader, site visit to IMMIM (Association of Mosque and Mushala Indonesia Mutahidah), networking and media engagement (from Alliance Jurnalist Indonesia), and sharing discussion about Women empowerment (from LBH Apik).