Stott Despoja Goes Global for Women and Girls
17 December 2013 at 10:02 am
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has appointed former Democrats leader and Not for Profit executive Natasha Stott Despoja as Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls.
Stott Despoja will step down from her position as beyondblue’s Deputy Chairwoman at the end of the year to take on the role. She joined the board in 2008.
Bishop said gender empowerment was a priority for the Australian Government’s overseas development program.
“Ms Stott Despoja's appointment reflects the Government's wish to be at the forefront of efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region,” a statement from Bishop and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said.
Women's advocacy organisation YWCA Australia welcomed Stott Despoja’s appointment as Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls.
“Ms Stott Despoja has a long-standing commitment to women and girls and the achievement of gender equality, and we are excited at the opportunity to work with her in this new role,” YWCA Australia Executive Director Caroline Lambert said.
In her first trip as Ambassador, Stott Despoja will travel with Bishop, who is leading a bipartisan delegation to the Pacific to promote women’s leadership and economic empowerment.
According to Bishop and Cash, the trip will underscore the Pacific region as a focus on the Ambassador’s role.
YWCAs in the Pacific have been funded by the Federal Government to develop the Pacific Young Women’s Leadership Strategy.
“YWCAs in the Pacific know from direct experience the importance of supporting the development of young women as leaders. We look forward to sharing this work with the new Ambassador,” Dr Lambert said.
As Ambassador for Women and Girls, Stott Despoja will be responsible for high-level advocacy to promote Australian Government policies and activity regarding gender equality and the social, political and economic empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
She will works closely with foreign governments and international organisations to support measures that: eradicate violence against, and trafficking of, women and girls; promote better educational and health outcomes; protect women and girls in conflict and promote the role of women in peace-building; eliminate discrimination; and enhance the participation of women in decision-making and leadership.
Stott Despoja is the founding Chairperson of the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children.
And as a former Senator for South Australia (1995-2008) and former Leader of the Australian Democrats, Stott Despoja was, at the time of her election, the youngest woman ever to enter the Federal Parliament.
Stott Despoja will succeed Penny Williams, who was appointed Australia's inaugural Ambassador in September 2011.