Bauer Media’s The Australian Women’s Weekly this week hosted its sixth annual Women of the Future (WoTF) awards.
AGL Energy was the principal sponsor of the event held at Quay in Sydney. It celebrates inspiring young women who are making a difference.
Former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, who is also a judge of WoTF, delivered her public address since resigning from the post late last month after the leadership spill.
In her 20-minute address, Bishop shared her thoughts on what is wrong with the current workplace environment in Canberra and why the dearth of female parliamentarians in Australia is a problem.
She said: “Recent events have given rise to a much broader debate around the workplace culture in Canberra. Allegations of bullying, intimidation harassment, coercion and the unfair and unequal treatment of women – unacceptable workplace practices are the responsibility of us all to identify, to stop it, to fix it.
“I firmly believe that no nation will reach its potential unless it fully embraces the talent, skill, energy, intellect and ideas of the 50% of its population that is female. It is not acceptable for us to have, in 2018, less than 25% of female parliamentarians.”
Bishop’s address was followed by a panel discussion with ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson, OzHarvest Australia CEO and founder Ronni Kahn, and Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage.
They spoke about what it took to make a great leader, particularly for women.
The Australian Women’s Weekly AGL WoTF patron, the honourable Dame Quentin Bryce then took to the stage to participate in a Q&A with event host Virginia Trioli, co-host of ABC News Breakfast.
For the first time in its six-year history, Women of the Future nominees entered across three categories: Innovation and Technology, Entrepreneur and Business, and Community, Health and Charity. The winner of each award received over $70,000 in cash and prizes.
Ally McLean took home the Innovation and Technology award for her mentorship platform The Working Lunch, which pairs entry-level women with experienced women in the gaming industry.
Jasiri Australia founder Caitlin Figueiredo won the Community Health and Charity award. A survivor of gender-based violence, Figueiredo co-founded Jasiri Australia at just 21 to educate women on resilience and skills to both avoid or stop assaults.
Within the Entrepreneur and Business category, Sarah Moran was the overall winner. Moran is the co-founder of Geek Girl Academy, an initiative that aims to place one million women into the tech startup industry by 2025.
Alongside Bishop, the judges for 2018 WoTF were former Studio 10 host Ita Buttrose, The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson, The Australian Women’s Weekly editor Nicole Byers, deputy leader of the opposition Tanya Plibersek, AGL’s Lisa Harrington and OzHarvest’s Ronni Kahn.
The event was attended by other media personalities such as Today’s Georgie Gardner, newly announced Studio 10 panellist Kerri–Anne Kennerley, former Studio 10 presenter Jessica Rowe and The Morning Show’s Kylie Gilles.
Byers said: “To say we were impressed by the calibre of entries in this year’s awards is an understatement. All nine finalists have accomplished so much, breaking ground in their respective fields, and it’s truly exciting to anticipate what they’ll do next.
“I’d like to sincerely thank AGL, our patron and the award judges, panellists and of course, finalists, for allowing The Weekly to keep telling the stories of Australian women. We look forward to continuing on our path to deliver a bright female future.”
The October issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, featuring the AGL Women of the Future Awards winners, is on sale Monday September 10.
Top Photo: Julie Bishop