Nillumbik Shire Council has recognised some of the Shire’s most outstanding young women at the inaugural Young Women Leaders Awards this week.
The awards, which were presented at the Shire’s annual International Women’s Day dinner on Wednesday, recognise the achievements and contributions to the community made by these exceptional young women.
The evening was opened by Wurundjeri women’s dance group Djirri Djirri performing a Welcome to Country and speaking about the culture and heritage of the traditional land owners.
Celebrated author Maxine Beneba Clarke and Eltham High School youth feminist collective The Violet Fems were guest speakers at the event.
Mayor Karen Egan said that providing recognition through programs such as the Young Women Leaders Awards was important.
“We’re aiming to encourage and inspire young women to feel empowered to take on leadership roles at school, at work and in the community,” Cr Egan said.
“Every single young woman who was nominated, regardless of whether or not they receive an award, has achieved remarkable things and should be incredibly proud of their achievements,” she said.
Young Woman of the Year
At the age of just 12, Libby Fisher started “Libby’s Koala and Wildlife Crusade” after visiting Australia Zoo and discovering koalas on the list of vulnerable species. Now 15, Libby has raised more than $45,000 for koalas and native wildlife in Nillumbik and beyond. Her contribution to wildlife conservation and community education was recognised on Wednesday night as she was named Young Woman of the Year.
Young Carer Award
Jhemma Hall received the Young Carer Award for her commitment to supporting other young carers, giving back to the community and assisting others. As a carer herself, Jhemma is a member of the Youth Advisory Council and has undertaken training to be a peer leader and facilitator, supporting young people caring for family members.
Gender Equity Advocate Award
Tara Frost is an active member of the Kangaroo Ground CFA and holds level-two first aid, advanced resuscitation and CFA Wildlife Fighter Award Accreditations. Challenging age and gender bias in emergency services, Tara is a great example of the important role women play in protecting and promoting the safety and wellbeing of our community.
Excelling in Arts or Sports
Eliza Stone was recognised for Excelling in Arts or Sports, thanks to her extensive theatre arts, drama and sports experience. Currently studying Drama and Theatre Studies at university, Eliza mentors young actors by volunteering to assist the director of Eltham Little Theatre, is an avid state-level volleyball player and coach, and has toured both the Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe Festivals.
Youth-Led Group of the Year
Eltham High School’s feminist collective The Violet Fems were awarded Youth-Led Group of the Year. Formed in 2017, the group of 10 young women from years 11 and 12 meet weekly to discuss feminism-related issues and work on ongoing projects. In 2019, Nillumbik Shire Council awarded the group a grant as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign. The Violet Fems created and promoted a powerful and immersive installation titled The Catwalk, which put the spotlight on gender inequality as seen through the issue of catcalling