In 2020, twelve grants were awarded to WWBA members to undertake projects that aligned with the goals and overall vision of the Academy. Applications were received from academic and professional staff and students.

The following projects were the recipients of the small grants, spanning diverse themes each with an important focus.

This project has focused on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in patriarchal societies with a focus on Indonesia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, all Muslim dominant countries. We have explored this issue as part of the COVID-19 recovery and assistance offered for Muslim women. Gender empowerment is one of the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but COVID-19 has impacted the progress in this area. 

In patriarchal societies, women have a major responsibility for domestic care while men are breadwinners.  Because of this context, generally NGOs in patriarchal societies have limited experience in designing suitable programs. However, women-owned small businesses usually generate an important additional income and their businesses were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are working on possible publications and a podcast to engage with broader community. We are also seeking potential donors or partners to work with.

Project team: Associate Professor Minako Sakai (lead), Dr Nelia Hyndman-Rizk and Dr Felix Tan from the Asia Pacific Development and Security Research Group, UNSW Canberra

For more information about this project, contact


Young people in the juvenile justice setting are often excluded from sexual and reproductive health education and services, including school-based sexual health curricula, yet these young people also represent a group of adolescents at high risk for sexual and reproductive ill health and injustice.

This project has undertaken a systematic review of evidence for the effectiveness of CSE on improving sexual and reproductive health and relationships of young people who have experienced juvenile detention.

For the next phases of this project, we will look further into the link between content and particular pedagogical strategies and specific outcomes, and explore the potential of incorporating trauma informed educational approaches. We will finalise and publish our findings from the systematic review and then look to secure funding to co-develop targeted CSE curricula with young people who have experienced juvenile detention. 

Project team: Dr Kristen Beek, Adam Howie and Kate Burry

For more information about this project, contact Kristen Beek: or Adam Howie: 


Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) represents a potential substitute for the poorly acceptable and replicable OGTT for the diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). Our group has already proven the Medtronic Ipro2 CGM to be acceptable for patients and potentially unmasking misdiagnosis of OGTT. We now want to test the Abbott Freestyle Libre PRO CGM on a more composite cohort of women (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) to further define how GDM looks at CGM and how to unmask OGTT misdiagnosis.

Project team: Daria di Filippo

For more information about this project, contact or visit

Endometriosis is a condition where the uterus tissue grows outside of the uterus, mostly in the pelvic. It is characterised by chronic pain and infertility, and occurs in a colossal 10% of pre-menopausal women. On average, women with endometriosis do not receive a correct diagnosis until 7 years from the onset of symptoms. The current treatments include contraceptive pills and undergoing laparoscopic surgery to remove the tissue. Our goal was to develop a blood-based test for a timely and non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis. 

Circulating cell-free DNA (cirDNA) is a promising biomarker for the detection of endometriosis. CirDNA are fragments of DNA, not enclosed in a cell, that circulate throughout the body. We developed a test which would enable us to detect and measure an increase of uterus-derived cirDNA, if the displaced uterus tissue sheds some of its DNA into the bloodstream. We collected blood and, using our test, measured the uterus-derived cirDNA in 24 healthy women recruited from the community, 27 women undergoing laparoscopy with negative endometriosis diagnosis and 59 endometriosis-confirmed patients. We did not observe an elevated cirDNA level in endometriosis patients. Thus, it is crucial that funding continues to enable us develop a better test that will ultimately has the potential to benefit the lives of many women.

Project team: A/Prof. Caroline Ford

For more information about this project, contact

It's Not Okay!

Sexual harassment in Australia is endemic and it disproportionately affects young people and young women.  It has long term health and wellbeing impacts on people.  Kingsford Legal Centre's project – ‘It's Not OK - Sexual Harassment Comics ‘- involved developing five comic strips on common sexual harassment scenarios  for young people. The comics have corresponding questions for discussion and a teacher kit with instructions and information for teachers or adults to guide these conversations. We will use these comics in our school education program. We also have made it freely available on our website and hope to expand our training to community groups. We hope to target young people as they start to enter the workplace so they are able to identify that sexual harassment is – Not OK – and that they have some skills in what to do or where to go if it happens to them. The comics also deal with what bystanders can do if they witness harassment.  Education like this to young people has been found to be a key preventative measure.

Project team: Emma Golledge, Fiona Duane, Johannah Lowe and Denise Wasley

For more information about this project, contact or access the comics and teachers kit.

Positively Women

Globally, women make up more than half of the 38 million people living with HIV. In Australia, however, women are an invisible minority. Because of their relatively small numbers, women exist on the margins and still face damaging stigma and significant barriers to having their health and social care needs met. The Positively Women project is a community-based arts research study exploring what it means to be a woman living with HIV in Australia through drawing, poetry, and storytelling. It also examines how art can influence health and effect change, both for women and for those who view their artwork. We are currently looking for additional funding to support knowledge translation to ensure that the findings from our research reach community groups and medical professionals, and inform the development of effective women-centred policies and programs.

Project team: Allison Carter, Patricia Morgan, Jane Costello, Asha Persson, Christy Newman, Katherine Boydell, Deborah Bateson, in collaboration with a national Community Advisory Board

For more information about this project, contact or visit

Poetry, oral literature, and folk traditions are deeply embedded in Uyghurs’ cultural life, spirituality, and the development of emotional knowledge. As the principal informants, Uyghur women play an essential role in safeguarding and giving communities ownership of these practices. As such, they have nurtured and maintained a sense of agency at times of grief, loss, and hardship.

Each year on the 21st of March when the vernal equinox dawns, Uyghurs celebrate the festival of Nowruz, which UNESCO recognises as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.  An ancient tradition likely emerged from Zoroastrianism, Nowruz, meaning ‘new-day’, welcomes the return of spring, heralds the rejuvenation of nature, and is celebrated by peoples from the Persianate societies to the Turkic world. Amongst Uyghurs, the preparation and celebration of Nowruz are highly ritualistic processes enshrined with spiritual significance and are confined mainly to women. Qoshaq, folk ballads are recited or improvised at various ceremonies. While these songs revolve around the arrival and celebration of the new year, they mostly deal with women’s emotions, spirituality, desires, love, and suppressed sensuality; as well as the triumph of joy over sorrow, and virtue over evil - thus, hope.

The introduction of the festival of Nowruz is the first part of this ongoing project which aims to use sound, image, and text to document Uyghur women’s role in community building and poetry making. While these projects seek to preserve these cultural practices under threat, making them available to the many displaced Uyghur diasporic communities worldwide will help alleviate their increasing feelings of cultural, emotional, and spatial alienation.

Project team: Dr Ayxem Eli (UNSW), Scientia Professor Louise Edwards (UNSW)

For more information about this project, contact or visit

Violets in Bloom

The Talking Trans Ageing project shines a light on the experiences of mid-life and older transgender women and their perceptions, hopes and concerns about growing older. Internationally, transgender and non-binary women receive inadequate and inappropriate health and aged care. For many trans women, fear of discrimination can be associated with decreased likelihood of seeking treatment from services and institutions that have historically been a source of stigmatisation and harm. Trans women are at higher risk of social isolation and estrangement from family networks, and experience higher rates of physical and sexual violence from both known and unknown perpetrators compared to their cisgender counterparts. 

The series was produced by a queer and trans-led team and is the product of a collaboration between multi-disciplinary UNSW academics (Brooke Brady and Professor Jill Bennett) and LGBTIQ+ community partners (BLAQ Aboriginal Corporation, Peta Friend, and Queer Agency).

In the first video of the series you will meet Rusty, a Yamatji/Noongar woman who grew up in a large family in Western Australia, before moving to Sydney to fully embrace her trans identity in Kings Cross during the 1980s. In the second, you will meet Carol, a self-described ‘un-kept woman’ who came out in her mid-fifties to the surprise of her wife and adult children.

The project team hopes to secure funding to explore a broader range of issues that are impacting the ageing experiences of LGBTIQ+ identities. 

Project team: Brooke Brady, Professor Jill Bennett and LGBTIQ+ community partners (BLAQ Aboriginal Corporation, Peta Friend, and Queer Agency).

For more information about this project, contact

A group of 8 women stand outside the Black Dog Institute building. They are all smiling.

‘Through my eyes’ is an exhibition of photographic stories on identity and inclusion.

Six women photographers with disability share their personal experiences and stories through feminist self-portraits. The result is a photographic journey, offering unique insight into contemporary Australian women and the lived experience of disability today.

‘Through my eyes’ reveals fresh perspectives on disability to challenge pervasive, limiting negative attitudes and assumptions.

The exhibition features work by Kerry Fountain, Evianne Grosvenor, Melinda Montgomery, Karen Peacock, Marusha Rowe Pride and Malissa Thorpe.

Project team: The project was initiated at Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney by Diane Macdonald, Angela Dew, Karen Fisher and Katherine Boydell

For more information about this project, contact or visit

The online hub will be part of the UNSW Gender Violence Prevention Synergy Project set up by the UNSW Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children Centre. The centre is comprised of key female and gender diverse individuals across Medicine and Health. The hub will promote collaborative translational research by connecting UNSW researchers, clinicians, educators, students and general community to cutting edge research into prevention of violence against women and children.  The hub will be an innovative data base centrally located with a special focus on providing opportunities for female and gender-diverse ECRs and students.  

At present data on research undertaken by the members of the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children Centre has been collated. Once this project is finished we will be looking for more funding to ensure that the Hub is kept up-to-date and user friendly.

Project team: Dr Ruth Wells, Professor Susan Rees, Dr Husna Razee, Professor Kimberlie Dean, Dr Patricia Cullen, Dr Amanda Henry, Dr Kristen Beek

For more information about this project, contact

A survey was rolled out to six universities in Australia and seven Canadian universities to examine the impact of working arrangements in universities, arising from adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular but not exclusively the gendered aspects of forced working from home, and some possible responses. The implications of the pandemic, for performance management, promotions, appointments and career progression, are going to be very big and last for several years. They in turn could have substantial consequences for staff disaffection and discontent.

Project team: Dr Ioana Ramia (UNSW), Dr Natalie Galea (UNSW), Prof David Peetz (Griffith University) and colleagues across participating universities in Australia and Canada

For more information about this project, contact or visit

Worlding with Oysters circle

With the WWBA Small Project Grant, Dr Sarah Jane Moore hosted a NAIDOC WEEK art making workshop with UNSW as part of the 2020 exhibition Worlding With Oysters at UNSW Library. The grant also supported the production of a recorded interview between Dr Sarah Jane Moore, Dr Laura Parker and Library Curator Jackson Mann which explored the roles of the Women in STEM & Women in the Arts movements and the significance of embedding Indigenous knowledge into scientific practice. The full 30-minute interview is available on the Library’s Online Exhibition.

Project team: Dr Sarah Jane Moore and Jackson Mann

For more information about this project, contact or visit