RISE Project

RISE logo

About the RISE Project

Realise. Inspire. Support. Energise. (RISE) is a visionary project that aims to build pathways to leadership for women from culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) backgrounds. It is designed to identify and break down systemic barriers and to assist organisations in supporting women in middle management to reach senior leadership positions within their organisations.

RISE is a collaborative project between Diversity Council Australia (DCA), Settlement Services International (SSI) and Chief Executive Women (CEW) and is funded by the Australian government Office for Women through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program (WLDP) 2022-2026.

The RISE project is working with 25 organisations across Australia to implement organisational change interventions that will help address systemic and organisational barriers for CARM women. The RISE project will work with up to 15 women from each of the 25 organisations to support their progression to leadership positions.


·       1.9% of ASX senior executives are non-Anglo women (DCA, 2017) 

·      While 46% of Board directors are women, only 5.6% are non-Anglo women (WoB, 2022)

·      While 78% of CARM women want to advance to senior leadership (DCA, 2023)

·      85% report having to work twice as hard as non-CARM women to get the same evaluation

·      79% agree ‘In gender equity work, little attention is given to the double disadvantage CARM women experience”

·      65% agree CARM women receive fewer opportunities for career advancements than other women 

·      65% feel they are ignored or not taken seriously by their manager due to being a CARM woman

·     61% have experienced workplace racism in past 2 years, while 48% have experienced sexism

Key Components of the RISE Project


  • An Organisational Self-Assessment Tool, completed by an internal project team (which can include Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion practitioners) and 15 CARM women in middle management in each organisation. The tool will diagnose key systemic barriers locking CARM women middle managers out of leadership.
  • An Action Plan Template, which provides a strategic framework for organisations to create their own strategic action plan. DCA will provide high level support with creating the action plan and organisations will drive the implementation of the plan. Organisations will also be able to take part in a community of practice with other participating organisations.
  • DCA’s Racism at Work training program, which provides anti-racism training aimed at stimulating nuanced, critical, and reflexive ways of understanding systemic racial barriers.
  • SSI’s Cultural Responsiveness training program, which explores sustainable ways to navigate a diversity of cultures in the workplace.
  • A Support Model for advancing CARM Women’s leadership skills, which will provide 15 CARM women in each organisation with coaching, mentoring, sponsorship, and a career advancement plan, so they can better leverage their leadership skills and progress in their careers.
  • CEW’s Leadership Development training program, which builds leadership capacity and provides opportunities for networking and membership connections, including an invitation to the CEW Connect community.


The RISE Journey for CARM Women and Organisations

Your Investment