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Randell, Shirley Kaye (1940 - )


8 March 1940
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Shirley Randell is a long-time activist for gender equality and women's empowerment in education, employment, public service and civil society in Australia, the Pacific, Asia and Africa.


Randell was educated at Perth Modern School and the Universities of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Canberra, New England and London where she took degrees in education and philosophy.

After teaching Aboriginal children in isolated schools in Western Australia, Randell had four children before moving with her family to Papua New Guinea where she lectured at Uniting Church teachers colleges and was Director of the Teaching Methods and Materials Centre at UPNG.

Returning to Australia, Randell began a 15-year career in the Commonwealth Public Service, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Public Service Commission. She was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Education for contributions to the administration of major national initiatives in rural education, disadvantaged schools and professional development as Director of Commonwealth Schools Commission Programs. While Director of Programs in the Australian Capital Territory Department of Education she became a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was awarded membership of the Division of the Order of Australia for contributions to public service, particularly in education. Her appointments before starting her own business in 1997 were Chief Executive Officer, City of Whitehorse, Director and Chief Executive of the Council of Adult Education and Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Ballarat.

As a leading expert in Gender Mainstreaming, Public Sector and Institutional Reform in Developing Countries, Randell has provided specialist technical assistance to several governments in the Asia Pacific Region and in Africa over the last ten years. In 2001 she was Advisor to the Vanuatu Government's Decentralisation Review Commission and undertook training assignments with the Departments of Agriculture and Forestry. She also lectured Thai, Chinese, East Timorese and Indonesian students at the Research Institute of Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, and has written books on Ni-Vanuatu Role Models: Women in their own right, Girls Can Do Anything, Women on the Move, Pacific Creative Writing and Raising Awareness on Domestic Violence in Vanuatu. In 1999-2000 she was Performance Improvement Advisor with the Public Service Commission in Vanuatu after completing a project in the Solomon Islands as Local Government Consultant with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on a Provincial Government Review for the Solomon Islands Department of Provincial Government and Rural Development. She has undertaken projects with AusAID, NZAID, World Bank, ADB, European Union, UniQuest, Philippines Center for Development, Management & Productivity, InfoTechs-I/D/E/A/S Sri Lanka, WD Scott International, Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria, URS Pacific and IDP Education Australia. These include ADB studies in skills development for the PNG Government as a Women, Youth and Non Government Organisation specialist in 1997 and the Sri Lanka Government as Quality Assurance and Gender & Development (GAD) Specialist in 1999, and an AusAid funded project for the Fiji Government's Department of Customs & Excise as Performance Management Systems, Business Process Re-engineering Training, Human Resources Management, and GAD specialist in 1998.

In 2004-2005 Randell was UNDP's Chief Technical Adviser for the Capacity Building in Gender Mainstreaming Project in public service training institutions in Bangladesh, working closely with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. Since 2006 she has been Senior Adviser, Gender and Governance for SNV Rwanda, East and Southern Africa Region with the Netherlands Development Organisation. She was instrumental in engendering Rwanda's Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008-2012.

Randell has spoken at a wide variety of Australian and international conferences, given talks, occasional addresses, openings, launches, lectures, seminars and workshops for parent associations, teacher organisations, industry groups, community groups, universities, schools, adult education centres, neighbourhood houses, government departments and service organisations, and been a frequent speaker at luncheon and dinner meetings about international, educational, ecumenical and women's issues. She has written extensively on public sector reform, education and human rights and been a regular broadcaster, particularly for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Among her many government, community and university committee roles, Randell has served as President of the Australian College of Education and Phi Delta Kappa Australian Capital Chapter; Chairperson of the Australian Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs, Healthy Cities Canberra and the Sexual Assault Working Party for the Central Highlands Wimmera Region; foundation member of the National Board of Employment, Education & Training and the Schools Council; and a company director of the YWCA of Australia, the National Foundation for Australian Women, the Sir John Monash Business Centre, the Institute of Public Administration Australia and the Australian Institute of Management. She is co-founder and mentor of the Vanuatu Association of Women Graduates, the Vanuatu Women Writers Association and the Rwanda Association of University Women. Her voluntary work includes a role as Convener of the International Federation of University Women Projects Committee and she is an active member of Rotary in every country she works in. In 2000-2001 she was President of the Rotary Club of Port Vila.

Randell has Public Sector Reform consultancy businesses in Sydney and Vanuatu. She has interests in physical fitness, cinema, theatre, music, scuba diving and travel, and four adult children and their families living in Sydney, Perth and Dubai.

Sources used to compile this entry: Information supplied by Dr Shirley Randell AM.

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