FOUR Canberra women and a local team were awarded for their work empowering women in the community and making change in the region at the 2020 ACT Women’s Awards last night (March 5).
Taking out the award for ACT Woman of the Year was CINDY MITCHELL, who has been empowering girls across Canberra to take control of their future and economic participation, by actively educating them to embrace entrepreneurship and strive for a voice in the business sector.
Ms Mitchell founded the Canberra region’s first dedicated social enterprise business development consultancy, Mill House Ventures. And in 2019, Cindy actively supported a network of more than 100 women change makers, entrepreneurs and startups. This has created a ripple effect where more than 1000 women and girls have indirectly benefited from her leadership and passion for economic empowerment.
ACT Senior Woman of the Year went to DR HELEN WATCHIRS for advocating for people experiencing disadvantage, including woman and girls, particularly those in ACT detention facilities. Her systemic advocacy has influenced ACT government reforms on gender diversity, mental health, racial and religious vilification, sex work, anti-terrorism and intimate image abuse.
SHIRALEE SANKEY was named ACT Young Woman of the Year. She has overcome adversity to become an advocate, leader and mentor for young people and is deeply involved in ensuring community facilities and organisations meet the needs of young people.
And, ESA commissioner GEORGEINA WHELAN, following her hard work during the unprecedented fires, was presented with a commendation award.
Throughout the bushfire crisis, Ms Whelan was front and centre of the ACT’s bush fire response, providing updates and information to the public over many long days and sleepless nights, and remaining in constant contact with counterparts from other states and territories.
During the night, 35 women were also inducted onto the ACT Women’s Honour Roll. In 2019, the Canberra Capitals and their supporters were named ACT Citizens of the Year and last night were inducted to the honour roll following the defeat of the Southside Flyers and taking home the WNBL Championship. The CANBERRA CAPITALS has also been presented with a commendation award.
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Ian Meikle, editor