UN Women is marking International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 with the theme Changing Climates—Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. The theme celebrates and recognises the contribution of women and girls around the world who are creating a sustainable future by working towards changing the climate of gender equality.
For the month of March Zonta Club of Brisbane gave a shout out to Queensland women making change and leading the way for women and girls to be safe, celebrated, successful and live with respect.
Here is our list of amazing changemakers:
Sonia Colvin Hairdressers with Heart
Sonia Colvin is founder of Hairdressers with Hearts (HwH), a not-for-profit organisation that takes a proactive approach against DV and elder abuse by harnessing the intimate and trusting relationship between Australia’s 67,000 hairdressers and barbers and their clients. HwH believes that by empowering hairdressers and barbers with the correct resources and appropriate training they can make a difference in the lives of many Australians.
Hairdressers and barbers are frontline in the community, reaching people on a grassroots level, having intimate conversations with clients walking through their door. HWH came to fruition after a conversation Sonia had with a DV worker at Caboolture Courthouse in 2012. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to support victims of DV and elder abuse building an incredible organisation that continues growing in reputation and esteem. Without Sonia’s tenacity in overcoming hurdles and following her dream this community service would not exist. Sonia was inducted into the QLD Domestic Violence Prevention Honour Roll in 2021.
Sallymatu Kuyateh Founder My Goal Saver
Sallymatu Kuyateh is founder and owner of My Goal Saver, which helps women and families from non-English speaking backgrounds now calling Australia home to save money and buy their first family home. Born in Sierra Leone in west Africa, Sallymatu fled the civil war in 1991 to Ghana where she lived in a refugee camp. Despite the difficulties of being displaced from her family and her country, she did her chartered accountancy course and secured jobs as a trainee accountant and internal auditor. She migrated to Australia in 2005 and has made her mark with the Brisbane Ethnic Music and Arts Centre (BEMAC), past president of Queensland African Community Council, secretary of Soroptimist
International Logan branch (SIL) and the Treasure of Muslim Charitable Foundation (MCF). Sally is also the CEO and founder of Empathy Community Services – an NDIS-registered organisation that is culturally oriented and person-centred to care for the vulnerable in our community. She also works for Translink. A true changemaker, Sallymatu is changemaker empowering women and vulnerable people in our society. Oh, and she is also a Local Legend in the Logan 2020 Australia Day honours awarded by Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Member for Rankin.
Aimee McVeigh, CEO Queensland Council of Social Service
Aimee McVeigh, CEO of Queensland Council of Social Services, is a passionate advocate for equality, opportunity and well-being for all Queenslanders. She believes lifting up and enabling Queensland’s women is essential to achieving this vision. We acknowledge and applaud Aimee’s impact as a lawyer, human rights advocate and leader – impact We acknowledge and applaud Aimee’s impact as a lawyer, human rights advocate and leader – impact she accredits to the incredible women she works with. QCOSS represents the voice of the community sector in Queensland – a sector where 4 of every 5 workers is a woman who is dedicating her energy toward better lives for Queenslanders. We love QCOSS’ vision to achieve equality, opportunity and wellbeing for every person, in every community.
Rochelle Courtney Managing Director Share the Dignity
Rochelle Courtney is Australia’s pad lady determined to end period poverty. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Share the Dignity, a charity she started single-handedly in 2015 when she realised homeless women in Australia struggled to access period products during their menstrual cycle. Share the Dignity started from a simple, grassroots idea from which she forged ah…
Share the Dignity started from a simple, grassroots idea from which she forged ahead on the belief that one person could indeed make a difference.
Her dedication inspired others to join. Today she leads a team of over 6000 volunteers determined to bring a ray of hope and light into the lives of homeless women and those fleeing domestic violence and abuse. Share the Dignity has donated over 3.3 million period products (over $69 million worth) through multiple initiatives across Australia. The organisation’s advocacy helped axe the tampon tax in 2018 and is now working to ensure all public hospitals offer free sanitary items to those who need them. Rochelle has also won recognition and accolades for her work including Finalist Australian of the Year, Cosmopolitan Humanitarian of the Year and Pride of Australia.
Share the Dignity www.sharethedignity.org.au
Thelma Schwartz Zonta Club of Brisbane Advancement of Women Award Winner 2021
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. 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. Every day Thelma is working to create positive change for victims and survivors of family violence and is tireless in her advocacy to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children, taking this advocacy to a national
Cathy Hunt, Women of the World Festival
Cathy Hunt is a change maker extraordinaire, who throughout her career has ‘disrupted’ the traditional mindset around funding and financing the arts. She is also the Executive Director of cultural enterprise Of One Mind, producers of the WOW (Women of the World) Festivals in Australia and is an advisor to the Global WOW Foundation. WOW imagines a world where gender does not impact of
life’s outcomes, through a cultural program of both celebration and conversation around the societal impacts of gender inequality. Following the success of WOW as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Cathy is leading a team to develop and deliver WOW Australia in Queensland from 2020-2022 and just delivered a very successful WOW in Longreach. The next WOW is in Cairns in June and then Logan. Make sure you join her there!
Margaret McMurdo AC
Long time Zonta Club of Brisbane member the Honourable Margaret McMurdo, AC, is chair of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce. A former President of the Queensland Court of Appeal first admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1976, Margaret’s leadership has been a beacon for women in the law and women impacted by the law. She was a founding committee member of the Women Lawyers Association and the first woman to be appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland and the Childrens Court of Queensland. She continues to answer the call to service as Chair of the Board of Legal Aid Queensland, Chair of the Board of Governors of Queensland Community Foundation and Board of Queensland and now chair of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.
Professor Sarah Holland-Batt
Sarah Holland-Batt is an award-winning Australian writer, editor and critic, and a Professor of Creative Writing at QUT. She is the author of three books of poems—Aria (2008), The Hazards (2016) and The Jaguar (2022)—and a book of essays, Fishing for Lightning (2021), collecting her columns on contemporary poetry for The Australian. She is also the writer of The Sopranos, a new show in Opera Queensland’s 2022 season exploring the representation of women in opera. Her writing has been recognised with numerous prizes, and she is the recipient of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell in the United States, an Asialink Literature Residency in Japan, and an Australia Council Literature Residency at the B.R. Whiting Studio in Rome, among other honours. In 2016, she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. She is also a prominent advocate for aged care reform and works to support reform of Australia’s aged care sector to ensure safe and dignified care for older Australians.
Amanda Dalton is the founder & CEO of Protea Place Inc. She has over 20 years’ experience in the Social Services Sector and identified the need for a woman’s support centre in Toowoomba. Amanda has extensive knowledge and experience in complex cases, homelessness, DFV, community & program development and service management. As the region’s only Women’s Centre, Protea Place is a grassroots community response and as yet, receives no Government funding. We support around 2000 presentations each year since opening in 2019. Protea Place is a unique response to a range of issues that women may be experiencing including homelessness, domestic and family violence and any other life trauma. Situated in a lovely old home in the Toowoomba CBD, allowing easy access for women in need with all the comforts of a home environment. Everything from showers, laundry facilities, hot lunch, clothing boutique, toiletries right through to housing, employment and legal assistance. A one stop shop for women in need. Protea Place also has a strong commitment to assisting older women who may be experiencing housing insecurity. For more information, please head to https://proteaplace.org.au
Quentin Bryce AD CVO
For more than 60 years Quentin Bryce has been at the forefront of change for women, and we felt it was fitting for her to the final woman in our Women Change Makers series. Since the 1960s when she graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland and, in the same year, was admitted to the Queensland Bar she has made an immense contribution to public life in Australia and always at the forefront of her work has been a concern for women, families, children, regional communities and Indigenous. She is no stranger to firsts – she recently opened the very first t Women of the World Festival to be held in Longreach. She is a true trail blazer who instigates change in her own calm, strong and consultative way. Her rich and distinguished career has seen her be a first in many roles including the Inaugural Director, Queensland Women’s Information Service, Office of the Status of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; founding Chair and CEO, National Childcare Accreditation Council; the first female Governor of Queensland; and the first female Governor-General.