Actively supporting a network of women change-makers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, Cindy Mitchell was acknowledged for her contributions as the 2020 ACT Woman of the Year.
The founder of Mill House Ventures, the Canberra region’s first dedicated social enterprise business development consultancy, Ms Mitchell empowers women to take control of their future and economic participation, by actively educating them to embrace entrepreneurship and strive for a voice in the business sector.
The ACT Women of the Year Awards are held around International Women’s Day each year and acknowledge the outstanding contributions of ACT women who have improved the status of women and girls in the region.
The awards also celebrated the achievements of Dr Helen Watchirs, who was named 2020 ACT Senior Woman of the Year, and Shiralee Sankey, 2020 ACT Young Woman of the Year.
Dr Watchirs was acknowledged as a strong and practical advocate for the human rights of people experiencing disadvantage, while her “systemic advocacy has influenced ACT Government reforms on gender diversity, mental health, racial and religious vilification, sex work, anti-terrorism and intimate image abuse”.
Recognised as a highly effective advocate, leader and mentor for young people, Ms Sankey is involved in ensuring community facilities and organisations meet the needs of young people.
Two special commendation awards were also presented, awarded to ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan for her effort during the recent bushfire season, and the UC Capitals women’s basketball team. Thirty-five women were inducted onto the ACT Women’s Honour Roll.
Across the border, Queanbeyan’s Nichole Overall was announced as Monaro’s Woman of the Year for 2020, acknowledged for her community work including involvement with Meals on Wheels, Headspace, patron of Molonglo Support Services, the women’s program at the Monaro Panthers Football Club and as the first female chair of St Edmund’s College Canberra.
The ACT Government also launched the Equity Together: Second Action Plan 2020-2022, the second stage of the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-2026, which will guide the government’s focus to improve opportunities for women and girls in the ACT over the next three years.
Focus areas of the second action plan include: improving the mental health and wellbeing of women and girls in the ACT; fostering gender equity in Canberra workplaces; building a community where women and girls are safe and supported to participate; improving housing support and sustainability and reducing homelessness for women; and developing appropriate and accessible services, programs and policies for women and girls, ensuring consideration of those from diverse backgrounds.