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The Andrews Labor Government has led Victoria’s first all-women delegation to China and Hong Kong.

Visiting Hong Kong today, Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins announced an $80,000 boost to Mentor Walks, a program to support women in Victoria who are ready to make their mark in their chosen area.

“China is one of Victoria’s most important trading partners. By encouraging the participation of Victorian women in this relationship, we’re promoting economic benefits both for women and the larger community. The trade mission has been a great opportunity for the delegates to learn and make the connections they need to grow their business in China.”

Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins

Mentor Walks Australia is modelled on the successful Mentor Walk Asia program, which was established in Beijing four years ago by Michelle Garnaut of the M Restaurant Group.

Mentor Walks give women the opportunity to partner up and receive professional advice from mentors in their chosen fields while walking.

This is the first time a trade delegation from Victoria has been made up completely of women. The historic delegation will help address the under-representation of women in Victoria’s international trade industry.

 

Statistics from Trade Victoria show that women currently make up just 23 per cent of international trade delegates.

On the mission Ms Hutchins met with the Shanghai Women’s Federation, visited the Chinese Women’s and Children’s Museum, met with successful Australian women in business and heard firsthand accounts of how to break into the Chinese market.

The delegation also met with Chinese industry leaders and companies to promote Victorian women-owned businesses to the Chinese export market.

“I couldn’t be prouder to continue the legacy of Fiona Richardson in supporting more female participation in our trade missions. Not just as a once off, but in a deliberate ongoing undertaking.”

Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis

Trade between Victoria and China brings $23 billion a year to the Victorian economy, but has the potential to increase if women were equal participants in international trade.

The delegation is a key initiative under Safe and Strong, Victoria’s first gender equality strategy.

It comes on top of strong investments already made in promoting and supporting women in business in Victoria. This includes $1.4 million to promote women’s self-employment opportunities and business skills.

For more information on Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy, visit vic.gov.au/women

FEATURE IMAGE: Claire Victoria PAN (Founder & Executive Director, VA China) via Twitter @thecvpan – Victorian Business Women and Female Entrepreneurs on tour following an elevator pitch exercise at a networking event with Ladies Who Tech in Shanghai last Thursday.