• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0349

Randell, Shirley Kaye

(1940 – )
  • Born 8 March, 1940, Perth Western Australia Australia
  • Occupation Educator


Shirley Randell is an award-winning global mentor, educator, trainer, author, company director, public speaker, change activist, ambassador, patron, and campaigner for human rights. She 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 for nine years where she lectured at Uniting Church teachers’ colleges, completed her Bachelor of Education degree 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 Educators 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. Her appointments before starting her own consultancy business in 1997 included Executive Secretary of the National Women’s Advisory Council, Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Ballarat, Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Adult Education and CEO of the City of Whitehorse, where she was awarded Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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 20 years. 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. In 2001 Randell 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. Randell 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. She has undertaken projects with development agencies including The Commonwealth, UN agencies, AusAID, NZAID, World Bank, ADB, European Union, Global Rights Partners for Justice, 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, Maxwell Stamp and IDP Education Australia. These included 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. In an AusAid funded project for the Fiji Government’s Department of Customs & Excise in 1998, Randell was consultant for GAD, Performance Management Systems, Business Process Re-engineering Training and Human Resources Management.

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. From 2006-2008 she was Senior Adviser, Gender and Governance for SNV Rwanda, East and Southern Africa Region with the Netherlands Development Organisation. In this role she was instrumental in engendering Rwanda’s Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008-2012 and supporting the 2007 Women’s Parliamentary International Conference on Gender, Nation Building and the Role of Parliaments attended by over 600 people. At the end of her contract with SNV, women parliamentarians invited Randell back to Rwanda to become the Founder Director of the Centre for Gender, Culture and Development at the Kigali Institute of Education (now Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Rwanda.

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, gender empowerment 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 Vice President of the International Federation of University Women, Convener and member of Graduate Women International’s Bina Roy Projects Committee, and Coordinator of Australian Graduate Women. Randell 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 in Rwanda and in 2004-5 Director of International and then in 2015-16 Vice President of the Rotary Club of Dhaka North West in Bangladesh.

Among many awards Randell became a Member of the Division of the Order of Australia in 1988 for contributions to public service, particularly in education, and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010 for distinguished service to international relations, particularly through the promotion of human rights of women and through public sector reform in developing countries. In 2018 she was the inaugural winner of the Institute of Managers and Leaders Australia and New Zealand’s Sir John Storey’s Lifetime Achievement in Leadership Award. Randell has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New England, Armidale, and is distinguished alumni of UNE and the University of Canberra.

Since Randell’s return to Australia in 2016 she works for not-for-profit organisations as an ambassador for the Australian Centre of Leadership for Women, FairBreak Global, Dignity Ltd and National Older Women’s Network, patron of Sunflower Foundation, board director of indigo foundation, and vice chair of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. She is Conjoint Professor of Practice, Faculty of Education and Arts, School of Education at the The University of Newcastle and Adjunct Professor of Education, Faculty of Education, The University of Canberra. Shirley maintains her interest in her Public Sector Reform consultancy businesses in Sydney and Rwanda, and in physical fitness, the arts, cinema, theatre, music and travel, four adult children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren and four great grandchildren living in Townsville, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth.

A complete list of Randell’s awards, publications and speeches can be found on her website: www.shirleyrandell.com


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