Outstanding Victorian Women Recognised

12 November 2021

Women leading their communities through disaster, helping address cybercrime and lifting-up vulnerable communities are some of the 23 remarkable inductees to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women this year.

Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams today announced the 2021 Victorian Honour Roll of Women inductees – women from all walks of life who have made outstanding contributions to the Victorian community.

Two new categories were also introduced this year, to recognise young women in the early stages of their career and acknowledge women’s leadership in bushfire and COVID-19 response and recovery.

Jenny Lloyd was integral in the Mallacoota New Year’s Eve bushfire recovery and future planning, and Mary Agostino established the Mitchell Leadership Alliance to bring together local health and community service provider CEOs to develop a coordinated approach for people affected by the pandemic.

The latest inductees have been recognised across diverse fields such as business, education, health and medical research, child welfare, gender equity and public life.

Other inductees include founding chair of Women in Mathematics, Professor Asha Rao, leading Aboriginal Disability Cultural Trainer and Consultant, Jody Barney, Master Builders Victoria’s first female CEO Rebecca Casson and Afghan Women’s Organisation Victoria founder Gulghotai Bezhan.

The youngest ever inductee – Yasmin Poole, 22 – is a national ambassador for Plan International Australia and a passionate advocate for young women being included in Australia’s political conversations.

Each year, the Honour Roll celebrates exceptional women in Victoria who have made significant and lasting contributions to the community. Women were able to self-nominate for the first time in 2021 – resulting in the most nominations ever representing diverse women from across Victoria.

The latest inductees join more than 700 women named in the Honour Roll since the program began in 2001.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams

“Women make outstanding contributions in every aspect of our lives, and through the Honour Roll we’re pleased to celebrate and recognise some of these significant and lasting contributions.”

“Celebrating the achievements of women of all backgrounds and experiences helps open the door for the next generation of outstanding women to be leaders.”

“This year’s inductees are true leaders who contribute every day to making Victoria – and in some cases the world – a better place.”

Women’s Honour Roll 2021 inductees

Change Agent

Kerryn Pennell

Inducted for her advocacy for youth mental health services both within Australia and internationally, and her pivotal role in developing responses to early psychosis and youth mental health in Australia.

Zoe Condliffe

Inducted for her advocacy around ending gender-based violence, founding ‘She’s a Crowd’ – a tech start-up dedicated to collecting stories about gender-based violence and sexual harassment.

Dr Bridie O’Donnell

Inducted for her extensive work as a physician, professional athlete and gender equality expert, becoming the inaugural Director of the Victorian Government’s Office for Women in Sport and Recreation in 2017.

Kate Kennedy

Inducted for her extensive work in complex human rights advocacy on an international level, including work on anti-slavery, child protection and systemic change for the disadvantaged.

Joanne Crawford

Inducted for her contribution to gender equality, sustainable development and anti-poverty through extensive research, policy and advocacy work.

Jody Barney

Inducted for her advocacy and education work for the needs and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities.

Emerging Leader

Shabnam Safa

Inducted for her work founding multiple initiatives to support refugees and host communities, focusing on strengths-based leadership and capacity-building approaches.

Dr Skye Kinder

Inducted for her clinical and advocacy work for rural and other marginalized patients and their communities to address health inequality.

Yasmin Poole

Inducted for her work as a youth advocate, as well as work advocating for girls’ rights to be recognized around the world.

Leading Through Disaster

Rosie King OAM

Inducted for her work advocating for gender equality in sport, and leading the netball industry through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Rebecca Casson

The first female CEO of Master Builders Victoria, inducted for her collaborative work steering and advocating for the building and construction sector through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Jenny Lloyd

Inducted for her integral work in Mallacoota’s recovery from the 2019-2020 bushfires and the area’s future planning, as part of the Mallacoota and District Recovery Association.

Mary Agostino

Inducted for her work establishing the Mitchell Leadership Alliance, bringing together CEOs of local health and community service providers to develop a coordinated approach for people affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Mitchell Shire.

Marisa Vedar

Inducted for her work as a leader in the Filipino community, in particular raising funds and delivering emergency relief to East Gippsland in the wake of the 2019-2020 bushfires and for international students and temporary workers in need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Local Champion

Aunty Lola James

Yorta Yorta elder inducted posthumously for her extensive work in Aboriginal health and child welfare, it is estimated that she personally cared for two hundred children within her own home when there were shortages of extended biological family and/or foster carers available.

Margaret Ellen James

Inducted for her pioneering work improving the status of and rights of women in Victorian universities, in particular transforming the scholarship program of Graduate Women Victoria to address disadvantage among women students of higher education.

Dr Sunila Shrivastava

Inducted for her work as a respected community leader in Victoria’s Indian community, in particular supporting newly arrived migrants and raising awareness about respectful relationships and prevention, and providing assistance to those experiencing family violence.

Gulghotai Bezhan

Inducted for her work as a respected community leader and advocate in Victoria’s Afghan community, in particular providing a range of supports to newly arrived Afghan women in the Casey and Greater Dandenong communities.

Selba Gondoza Luka

Inducted for her work as a mental health clinician and founder of Afri-Aus Care Inc, providing culturally appropriate support services to at-risk African-Australian youth, their families and the community at large.


Professor Asha Rao

Induced for her work as a mathematician and cybersecurity expert, and in particular working to improve gender equality within the mathematical sciences in Australia.

Taryn Lane

Inducted for her pioneering work as a community development practitioner in community energy and community-led climate transitions, co-founding RE-Alliance and the Coalition for Community Energy.

Professor Robyn Guymer AM

Inducted for her trailblazing work in ophthalmology, in particular age-related macular degeneration, becoming Victoria’s first female medical retinal specialist, and committed to promoting women in research.

Dr Nouria Salehi AM

Inducted for her trailblazing work as a nuclear physicist and biophysicist in Afghanistan and Australia, as well as her provision of support to families in Afghanistan, and refugees to settle in Australia.

Reviewed 12 November 2021

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