Australian Economy

UN Women Australia MBA scholarship recipient drives change

Woman with brown skin and short black hair smiling. She is wearing a teal blazer

Laurena Basutu, UN Women Australia MBA Scholarship recipient

Laurena Basutu has been awarded the 2022 UN Women Australia MBA scholarship, which funds the study of the University of Sydney Business School’s part-time MBA. The scholarship aims to promote gender equality at the most senior levels of the nation’s public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors, and is worth more than $60,000.

A project manager with Transport for NSW, Laurena’s engineering career has seen her contribute to the compliance, safety and quality of a variety of rail projects including freight, intercity fleet and regional fleet.

Her long-term goal is to create sustainable infrastructure that gives women physical, economic and social access to opportunities – a lofty aim inspired by her family’s move from Zimbabwe to Narooma (on the NSW far south coast) in the early 2000s.

“Growing up in Zimbabwe I was constantly reminded that I was one of the lucky few, born after independence in 1980, whose future would not be curtailed by colonialism. I would have access to opportunities that my mother and her mother before her could only dream of,” Laurena said.

“It was not until I moved to Australia in 2004 and took the free school bus to Narooma High School that I understood what true access was. That bus trip changed my life. It gave me the structural support to access an education that would not have been available to me otherwise. Beyond that, it opened my eyes to the fact that no-one can be free without equal access.”

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