New program supports women leadership in Customs Administration

New program supports women leadership in Customs Administration

Women’s leadership in Customs Administration was the focus of a new and innovative RMIT-supported training program with 58 participants from 11 countries.

Facilitating the legitimate movement of goods across international borders requires a diverse, quality workforce in Customs Administration. However, similar to other national law enforcement agencies, Customs continues to be a male-majority profession.

In 2020, the World Customs Organisation announced that only 15% of senior customs roles are held by women, and 37% of the global customs workforce are female. Women’s representation in Customs is expected to be even lower in the Asia-Pacific region.

To provide an opportunity for women officers in Asia-Pacific and beyond to advance their career pathways in their national customs administrations, the first Women’s Professional Development Programme for the Container Control Programme, or CCP-WPDP for short, was held recently. 

news-1-new-program-supports-women-leadership-in-customs-administration The graduation ceremony of the Container Control Programme’s Women’s Professional Development Programme welcomed participants from Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and Australia.

The program, an initiative of the Australian Border Force, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization, was delivered by RMIT University’s Hanoi-based Transnational Security Centre.

Australian Border Force Commander Lauren Monks said: “Customs officers across the Asia-Pacific region manage a highly complex portfolio of activities to protect national borders and enable legitimate trade. Through the CCP-WPDP we are providing an opportunity for emerging women leaders to build trusted networks and leadership to more effectively combat the global movement of illicit goods.”

“Fifty-eight participants from 11 countries just graduated from the CCP-WPDP with enhanced leadership, networks and technical tradecraft to combat transnational crimes including drug trafficking, terrorism, smuggling, counterfeit goods and the illegal movement of hazardous and dangerous goods,” Commander Monks added.

Mr Phillip Dowler, Head of the Hanoi campus and the Transnational Security Centre at RMIT University, added: “For the past 16 years, RMIT Hanoi campus has been the proud host of various management programs for law enforcement officials from all over the world. We have earned an international reputation for working alongside our partners to design and deliver specialised training programs to empower women as they proactively advance their careers.”

A participant from the Indonesian Directorate General of Customs and Excise, Ms Nidia Kusumawardhani said: “This course has encouraged me to have an adaptive mindset, and to be collaborative and innovative. It has also made me more confident to be a leader.”

“Our group learned and grew together during the four weeks. This program united us as peers and sisters, and I’m ready to be here for all of them as we continue on this journey,” she added.

news-2-new-program-supports-women-leadership-in-customs-administration The five participants from Fiji in the CCP-WPDP. Năm học viên người Fiji tham gia chương trình CCP-WPDP.

Another participant, Ms Akosita Valamalua from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, said: “It was an emotional graduation for all of us as we know that we represent not only our Customs organisation but all young girls and women from our island home, Fiji.”

“It is every little girl’s dream to one day graduate from tertiary studies and pursue our careers in order to assist our own families, but to graduate from an international university such as RMIT no matter how small the certification may be, it is a big achievement to be celebrated,” she said.

Watch the video below to learn more about the program through the words of its participants.

About RMIT University’s Transnational Security Centre

Based in Hanoi, Vietnam, the RMIT Transnational Security Centre (TSC) is a world-leading education provider for law enforcement officers and leaders. Since 2005, the TSC has provided opportunities for over 1,500 police, immigration, border control and customs officials from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and the Pacific to connect, collaborate and strengthen responses which have significantly impacted transnational crime and the illicit movement of people and goods.

About the Container Control Programme

Established in 2004, the Container Control Programme (CCP) is a joint initiative by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The mission of CCP is to build capacity in countries seeking to improve risk management, supply chain security, and trade facilitation in seaports, airports and land border crossings in order to prevent the cross-border movement of illicit goods.

Story: Ngoc Hoang

14 September 2021


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