Gender Equality, Disability & Social Inclusion

Australia Awards promotes equity and broad participation by all groups in society

The Australian Government seeks equity and broad participation by all groups in society. This includes women, people with disability and people from traditionally-marginalised groups.

Australia Awards is committed to ensuring equal access to opportunities, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, minority group status or disability.

Australia Awards offers a range of support to remove different barriers to fair participation and create a level starting point for all eligible people interested in applying for Australia Awards Scholarships and Short Courses.

To ensure equity and diversity of participation, Australia Awards applications are actively encouraged from eligible women, people from traditionally-marginalised groups and people with disability. The selection process for Australia Awards Scholarships takes into account barriers to participation faced by applicants from under-represented groups and, where appropriate, makes adjustments to improve their competitiveness.

Australia Awards has gender equality and social inclusion initiatives tailored and contextualised for each participating country in South Asia.

Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment is a core policy priority for the Australian Government and is centred on women’s economic empowerment, women in leadership and the elimination of violence against women.

Australia Awards aims for equal participation by both women and men. All women—in particular, women from traditionally-marginalised groups, and women with disability—are encouraged to apply for Australia Awards.

There is a range of adjustments and support that can be made at different stages of the Australia Awards process to remove barriers to fair participation that women may experience. Australia Awards aims to offer at least 50% of Scholarships and Short Courses to women.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that people with disability are included in, and equally benefit from, Australia’s development assistance. Australia Awards empowers future leaders, including those with disability, to drive change and contribute to development.

Australia Awards strives to ensure equal access for people with disability at all stages of a Scholarship or Short Course opportunity: application, selection, pre-departure, in-Australia and after returning home. People with disability are encouraged to apply for Australia Awards. Assessment of their application is made fairly and equally, and applicants will not be excluded on the grounds of disability.

Applicants are encouraged to notify the program early about any disability they may have. Early notification enables Australia Awards to provide appropriate support in the application and placement process.

Recipients with disability are provided with reasonable adjustments, based on a needs assessment. The objective is to allow recipients with disability to participate on an equal basis with others. Australian institutions are very experienced in providing different types of assistance or adjustments.

Scholar Resource: Disability Inclusion in Australia

Disability Inclusion & Australia Awards – Bangladesh

Disability Inclusion & Australia Awards – Bhutan 

Disability Inclusion & Australia Awards – Nepal

Disability Inclusion & Australia Awards – Pakistan 

Disability Inclusion & Australia Awards – Sri Lanka


The below guide has been put together to assist scholars to connect with Australian and state-based service providers, resources and social groups that support the inclusion of people with disability. Scholars can use this as a guide to find assistance and community connections while undertaking their university scholarship in Australia.

Australian Disability Service Provider Guide

Australia Awards is committed to ensuring equal access to opportunities. Depending on country-specific contexts, certain people-groups are at times marginalised. These groups can include women and people with disability, as well as people living in remote areas; people from particular religious, ethnic, tribal or caste groups; or people with different sexual orientations and/or preferences; or people living with HIV/AIDS.

People from traditionally-marginalised groups are encouraged to apply for Australia Awards Scholarships and Short Courses. Assessment of their application will be made fairly and equally, and applicants will not be excluded on the grounds of their gender, disability, race, sexuality, religion or minority group status.

Australia Awards Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion approach is grounded by the principle of Intersectionality. Rather than naming and identifying different aspects of a person’s identity, Australia Awards recognises that there are common barriers faced by diverse people that need to be addressed and that there are specific barriers resulting from intersecting identities that also need to be considered. As such, there is an increased focus on providing all Program participants with strategies to promote inclusion.

In delivering the Program’s Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion aspects, six resources have been developed for Australia Awards scholars (and potential applicants) to prepare them for life in Australia.

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH)

Domestic and Family Violence in Australia

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) People in Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names

Respectful language guide – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Guide to acknowledging Country



Alumni Disability Advisory Group

With the aim to support and improve disability inclusion practices across the Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia program, an Alumni Disability Advisory Group has been established, consisting of seven Australia Awards alumni from Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In addition to highlighting their own contributions and leadership stories, the Group provides a platform for discussions surrounding key issues on disability inclusion and build on these synergies to seek innovative solutions to eliminate barriers.

The Group will work in collaboration with the Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia program during the Scholarship cycle to provide support to people with disability and create a network that will build the confidence of people with disability to apply for Australia Awards Scholarships.

Learn more about the Group’s members

Social inclusion stories

Learn about alumni who are making a difference in gender equality and social inclusion

Learn more