The Zonta Club of Brisbane Advancement of Women Award recognises a person who is progressing the status of women through their leadership, work, or advocacy.

This can include:

  • creating new pathways for women
  • facilitating women’s advancement along existing pathways
  • advancing the interests of women through endeavours in social, community, economic, academic, political or work environments.

Applications are open to any person who is already on the path of helping women and who can use the funds to leverage the effect of their work.

The successful application will receive a cash prize of $5000 and access to ongoing collaboration with Zonta International members to further advance their work.

Applications are open now and will close 23 September 2022.

Download the application form

Enquiries about the award can be sent to Lesley at

Background and History of the Award

The Advancement of Women Award was established in 2019 in celebration of 100 Years of Zonta International.

The award is funded through the Advancement of Women Fund, founded by a gift from Dr Joan Godfrey OBE,a founding member of the Zonta Club of Brisbane.

The fund continues to grow, with contributions from current club members and supporters, both now and into the future.


2021 - Thelma Schwartz

Thelma Schwartz is the principal legal officer of the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS), an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation providing legal and non-legal support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault in Queensland

Thelma identifies as of Torres Strait Islander heritage alongside her German, Samoan and Papua New Guinean heritage. She has more than 21 years post-admission experience working in commercial litigation in the Northern Territory and Queensland, in criminal law defence extensively across the Far North Queensland region representing men, women and children across multiple courts. In 2018, in recognition of her work in regional and remote Queensland, Thelma was the award recipient of the Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year 2018 by the Women Lawyer’s Association of Queensland. Thelma has extensive practice experiences working with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in the provision of legal services in regional, rural and remote Queensland.

Thelma appeared as a witness before the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and Inquiry into Family Domestic and Sexual Violence. She is a member of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

2019 - Cathy Hunt

Cathy is co-founder of Of One Mind, a not for profit company behind the development of the Women of the World Festival in Australia. She was chosen as the winner of the Advancement of Women Award in recognition of her outstanding 20-year track record creating programs to empower women in addressing gender inequality, engaging a wide range of communities of women in Australia and internationally creating new pathways through art and cultural efforts including your directorship of the WOW Festivals.

Thank you to our donors

I Love $50,000 Dr Joan Godfrey (Foundation Donor)

I Love $20,000 Ms Susan Hocking (in memory of Lesley Hocking)

I Love $20,000 Ms Susan Davies (in memory of Anne Davies)

The Advancement of Women Award is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would like to contribute to the Award fund and support the advancement of women and girls, please contact us at