Scroll Top


3 years on…

We turned 3 in August 2023! What a year it was for ASAC. We lived our mission to be a powerful network of South Asian women and allies, determined to make a difference through entrepreneurship, creativity and leadership. 

Numbers mean a lot but it’s stories that are the heart and soul of ASAC. The impact our work makes is what drives us – seeing the tangible difference it makes to so many women is our fuel. Knowing that we inspire, create hope and are accelerating the pace of change in Australia is our North Star. We do love a good visual snapshot of numbers, so scroll to the end to see our year in review in numbers.

Our Community Grew 

We welcomed 35 new members, such as:

Priya Ravindra, the Founder of Punar, a social enterprise enriching the lives of women artisans in India while solving the problem of landfill textile waste.

Manpreet Sekhon, a culinary visionary who is the owner and head chef at Masti in Fitzroy & Elchi in Melbourne CBD.

Anjali Nihalchand, Founder of Pollination Projects (a brand and project consultancy)  and co-founder at Maple Tree Counseling, a boutique therapy practice based in Hong Kong and Australia.

Our members have had the opportunity to strengthen their connections with other passionate, driven South Asian women through our curated events. We hosted 16 gatherings and events in 2023, bringing together 878 people to connect, laugh and empower one another.

We Created More Ways for Members to Connect

We also launched an MVP Member Portal using Airtable in June. A directory where members can read about each other’s work, reach out and connect.

We know that to progress gender equality, we need allies to be involved. Many of our members expressed they’d like some events to include all genders and some donors also asked if they could attend events.

So we launched an allyship member option, expanding our membership to include men and non-South Asian folks who want to be allies. You can read all about that here and join here.

Using Comedy & the Arts to Fuel Change

We took two of our initiatives to new heights. Brown Women Comedy (BWC) 2023 was the largest (and only) show at Melbourne International Comedy Festival to feature a line-up of six Australian South Asian women comedians.

600 people came to watch six shows, the media campaign had six million impressions and it was featured in ‘The Age’, SBS & Draw Your Box as well as 11 other publications!

Given that the entire festival has around 550 shows and only three South Asian Australian women solo shows, BWC brings diversity, helping the Melbourne International Comedy Festival reflect what Melbourne actually looks like.

BWC is more than just laughter though. Our comedians told stories that were bold, raw and shameless in the best possible way. They owned the very things society judges them for – being divorced, bisexual, bipolar – and different. They took the stigma and shame out of these shared experiences and identities, all while making people laugh. 

Here’s some feedback that made us smile-cry:

“Well, funny but true story! I came to just see desi women being represented on one stage and I was so blown away by it and left utterly inspired by the power and freedom of their voices. I started doing stand up two weeks later and now, I’ve done it all over Europe for fun”

“It meant everything! Representation matters SO MUCH! I feel proud, happy, Connected.”

I am a huge supporter of the Melb International Comedy Festival. I have been going every year since 1998…It has taken years to see female ‘brown’ comedians emerge in this space. Generally there are already so few female comedians, esp compared to the numbers of male comedians. Add to that WOC are even fewer and further between. Brown Women Comedy is one of the first forays into bridging this massive gap. It makes me incredibly happy to see female South Asian comedians”

“I was never interested in stand-up comedy because I’d never watched anything relatable, but after Brown Women Comedy I was so inspired I started doing stand-up myself.”

Changing Culture by Recognising and Amplifying Women

South Asian women are achieving phenomenal success but more importantly they’re making a huge difference in their communities. Yet their work often goes unrecognised. So this year, we put a lot of love, time and passion into the Awards to honour these very women.

Our Stellar South Asian Women Awards 2023 saw women fly in from all over Australia – and the world – to come together to celebrate one another. We had 90+ nominations, 40 finalists and 9 winners. You can read all about them here. Finalists were not only from Melbourne but also flew in from Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Chandigarh (India) and New Zealand.

Here’s what women had to say about the Awards:

As a woman of colour and a first-generation immigrant, this achievement holds a special significance for me. Leadership, for me, extends far beyond merely occupying a position of authority. It embodies the values of courage, resilience, and compassion – qualities that I have nurtured and embraced throughout my personal and professional life.” – Aarti Bajaj

“To be blown away by the impact made by all the nominees and winners is an understatement. The winner in the international category dedicated her acceptance speech to….talk about another woman doing incredible things. This is community. This is power. And this is the future. It has been quite a journey as a South Asian Australian Muslim Woman running a business, and to be surrounded by this kindred of people literally changing the world for the better inspires me everyday to do the same.” – Ruhee Meghani

“Last night was truly special as I found myself surrounded by a room full of inspiring South Asian women, each making remarkable contributions in their respective fields. Listening to each speech and story filled me with inspiration, motivating me to contribute more to our community.” – Anuradha Gonadeniya Hewage

The South Asian Book Club is Back! 

Our book club (which had been on hiatus for some time…) started again this year, thanks to to former members turned Book Club Leads – Jessie Raj & Tamanna Wadhwani.  This time, we hosted all in-person get-togethers in the small and intimate setting of members’ homes. We talked late into the night, sometimes about the book but mostly just connecting on a deeper level.

Some highlights included:

  • Harper Collins sending us copies of ‘Untethered’ by Ayesha Inoon (Canberra-based South Asian author & member of ASAC), who later joined us in October to talk about her debut novel.
  • Reading and discussing Adania Shibli’s ‘Minor Detail’ at the December event, as members wanted to amplify Palestinian women authors. 

“We did, as always, have lots of interesting conversations that stemmed from the book – about war, conflict, religion, identity, land rights, the patriarchy.” – Jessie Raj 

We Recognised, Amplified and Empowered 89 Women Through our Social Media

We wrote articles, crafted social media posts, curated awards and created comedy shows – all to amplify South Asian women creatives, founders and change makers!

Some of our most engaged posts were:

  1. ‘Meet our 2023 Stellar Award Finalists’
  2. South Asian Women Powerlifters’
  3. Special Mention Award Winner (Pyrawy)
Grew The Team

We welcomed new team members, a special shout out new Marketing Manager Reshma Madhi and Community Manager Rumali Kularatne, as well as committee members and volunteers who generously help when the need arises –  read about them all here. 

2024 Goals

Going into 2024 our goals are to:

  1. Focus on amplifying the impactful work of our brilliant creative & entrepreneurial South Asian women that often gets overlooked.
  2. Grow our membership and curate meaningful ways for our members to connect with one other, feel empowered, inspired and build lasting friendships.
  3. Amplify under-represented artists through Brown Women Comedy and take the show on a national tour – yes we’re coming to Sydney Comedy Festival and Adelaide Fringe, as well as Melbourne of course! We have 30+ shows planned from March – May 2024. 
  4. Explore avenues to become a sustainable organisation with a clear long term strategy. A stronger focus on fundraising and sponsorships to ensure we can scale our impact. 

Empowering South Asian women with a shared values of social justice, generosity, community & ambition in Australia underpins everything we do, and we want to make sure we have what it takes to keep doing this work.

Your support has made these achievements possible. Thank you for coming on this journey with us to accelerate the pace of change, empowering South Asian women and building an authentic community.

You can continue supporting our work by donating or becoming a member here.

Written by Daizy Maan

Edited by Reshma Madhi