Women in Community Life Awards 2024

Our annual Women in Community Life Awards celebrate local women for their achievements in contributing to a fairer, more equitable community. 

The Awards commenced in 2016 and continue to attract significant interest across the region to recognise women* who lead in neighbourhoods, clubs, business or work to progress gender equity and human rights.

The UN Women global theme for 2024 is Count Her In: Accelerating gender equality through economic empowerment.

As a part of our work to progress gender equality and inclusion, the Awards play an important role in recognising the contribution made by women and the work they do in the community.

Across industries and disciplines, women do not receive awards or recognition at the same rate as men, including Australia Day Awards and Nobel Prizes. Women often receive awards with less monetary value compared to men, and often receive less prestigious awards.

*Also refers to cis and trans women and gender non-binary people.


The 2024 award recipients are:

Nikki Stanley - Women in Community Life Award for a First Nations Woman
Sponsored by Parliamentary Secretary for First Peoples & Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens

Nikki’s impact on the Geelong community extends far beyond her role as a proud Wadawurrung woman. Nikki’s deep commitment to preserving and sharing the rich traditions of the Wadawurrung people has made her a cornerstone of cultural education and awareness in the region. Her dedication to fostering a sense of belonging for all community has cultivated an environment where everyone feels connected and respected, breaking down barriers and building bridges between different cultural backgrounds.

Yvonne Parker - Women in Community Life Award for Climate Action
Sponsored by Member for Bellarine, Alison Marchant

Yvonne Parker is a climate activist and volunteer with Geelong Sustainability and is an exemplary role model and a true inspiration. From picking up rubbish on our beaches to providing an example to the women and girls in our community that you are never ‘too’ anything to not have a go and to strive for your dreams. She uses her writing skills as an activist and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

Lee Fox - Women in Community Life Award for Disability Rights
Sponsored by Barwon Health

Facing challenges posed by bipolar disorder, Lee’s transition from being on the disability support pension to leading a team of mental health professionals is a remarkable example of breaking through the barriers of gender stereotypes and societal expectations. By openly discussing her journey and being in a position of influence, she is a persuasive role model for women and girls facing similar challenges. Her story demonstrates that achieving professional success and personal growth is possible regardless of age, gender, and health challenges.

Bridie Coughlin - Women in Community Life Award for Economic Empowerment
Sponsored by Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South-West

Musicians had significant economic impacts on their profession and ability to generate income during the COVID19 pandemic. Bridie has been a leader in re-establishing the live music scene in Geelong, through her role at The Barwon Club Hotel. Bridie has a unique style and a self-confidence that demonstrates professional leadership and the ability to ‘be ones-self’ in their chosen profession. Her identity is simultaneously “alternative” and personable, allowing those opportunities for mentorship, especially with musicians who may not conform to mainstream ideals of gender or identity.

Kathyrn Aston-Mourney - Women in Community Life Award for Education
Sponsored by Soroptimist International of Geelong

Kathryn is a scientist, musician and inspiring leader who is passionate about training the next generation of women. Her visibility as a successful young woman in STEM continues to challenge entrenched stereotypes. Kat volunteers to promote STEM careers to the young women of Geelong and provide exciting opportunities for women scientists to showcase their work to the Geelong community. She also volunteers with Orchestra Geelong as a committee member and oboist encouraging women and girls to support their involvement in
community music.

Renée La Peyre - Women in Community Life Award for Human Rights
Sponsored by Zonta Club of Geelong

Renée has significantly advanced participation, representation, and leadership for women and girls in the Greater Geelong community through her pioneering efforts in the disability sector. Her dedication to eradicating historical abuses aligns seamlessly with her commitment to advancing the positions of women and girls. Through her business, Renée has provided emergency accommodation to over 200 women with disabilities, challenging stereotypes and promoting the belief that everyone deserves the chance to have safe
and enjoyable experiences regardless of their circumstances.

Karen Todd - Women in Community Life Award for Leadership in Women’s Health
Sponsored by GMHBA

As a social worker, Karen is a passionate advocate for protecting women and children from family violence and has trained hundreds of health professionals to effectively recognise and respond to patients experiencing family violence. Her work has led to a significant shift in the way health professionals and health services throughout the Greater Geelong region respond to victims of family violence. Karen’s advocacy resulted in the successful introduction of a social work service across seven days in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Geelong in 2021.

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 12 March 2024