Victoria’s most remarkable women – including Anjali Sharma and Aishwarya Kansakar – who have helped shape our state and support the community have been inducted into the 2022 Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins congratulated the 23 inductees at a ceremony at the Arts Centre in Melbourne.
Each year, the Honour Roll celebrates exceptional Victorian women who have made significant and lasting contributions to our state and country.
This year’s inductees include emerging leaders on climate action, women leading through disaster and those working to support vulnerable communities.
Anjali Sharma – who is the youngest ever inductee at 18-year-old – has been recognised for her work and passion for climate change, as well as support for equality.
Anjali Sharma then 16, was part of Melbourne’s School Strike 4 Climate group which had taken the then Environment Minister Sussan Ley to court, claiming her approval of Vickery coal mine in regional New South Wales would violate her duty of care to them (the teenagers) and future generations.
The 16-year old lead complainant Anjali Sharma had warned the project would burn roughly 370 billion tonnes of carbon emissions over its lifetime if it went ahead.
This group of teenagers had sought a declaration that the minister had a duty of care to them and not to cause them harm by hurting the environment.
And to their utmost delight, the Federal Court had agreed. “Having weighed and balanced those considerations, a duty of care should be recognised”, the Court had said.
As a teenager, this win was monumental and pleased all Australians.
Aishwarya Kansakar, who is originally from Nepal is a techonolgy futurist. At 20 years old, Aishwarya Kansakar launched her first startup (which today employs 85 people). It came in the wake of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. At the time of the quake, Aishwarya was studying in Japan. Upon hearing of the disaster in her home country, she and her friends launched a fundraising initiative, collecting approximately 5 million Japanese Yen (over $60,000 AUD) that they donated to the Red Cross and some United Nations subsidiaries. However, they realised they were unable to track where the funds they had donated had been used, which in turn inspired them to launch a new initiative, something sustainable, that they could effectively monitor.
“Coming to Melbourne is a new cultural experience in itself. I’m lucky in that my background lets me settle anywhere. My schooling was in India and Nepal, which is another part of the mix, and I speak several languages,” she says. “Coming to Melbourne, I realised that in a city like this, I kind of dissolve into it, like ink in water. It sounds vague, but I don’t see these boundaries anymore. I’m very mobile in terms of my future”, Aishwarya says.
“Victoria is full of remarkable women who are leading the nation in their chosen fields and in their communities –these honours are about celebrating their achievements” Victorian minister for Women Natalie Hutchins said.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women – every one of youhave made significant and lasting contributions to our state and you help to inspire others to do the same”, Ms Hutchins added.
Some of the other inductees include Aunty Merle Miller, a Yorta Yorta woman who helped to establish the Dunguludja Dana Youth Group in Shepparton and is part of the Victorian Multicultural Commission Greater City of Shepparton Roundtable.
Commander Debra Robertson APM was also recognised at the awards – as Commander in Charge of Intel Covert Support Command at Victoria Police, she has been instrumental in advocating for greater gender equality in Victoria Police employment policy.
The late Janice ‘Jan’ Valma Davey OAM received posthumous honours for her role as a leader of Bendigo’s brass brand who became the first woman in Australia to be drum major (marching leader).
More than 700 women from diverse backgrounds across the state have been named in the Honour Roll since it began in 2001.
The late Hon Joan Kirner AC, Victoria’s only female Premier, created the Honour Roll to formally acknowledge women for their achievements and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
2022 Women’s Honour Roll inductees are:
- Aunty Merle Miller
- Elizabeth Adnams
- Linda Thompson
- Anjali Sharma
- Dr Debra Parkinson
- Shorna Moore
- Dr Ngaire Elwood
- Michal Morris
- Kristine Pierce
- Karen Milward
- Hnin Yee Htun Win
- Dr Sherene Loi
- Commander Debra Robertson APM
- Dr Anna Lavelle
- Aishwarya Kansakar
- Christine Welsh
- Ann Smith
- Dr Marilyn Fleer
- Sahar Gholizadeh
- Janice Valma Davey OAM – posthumous
- Michelle Telfer
- Hatice Yilmaz
- Joy Sawiche Juma
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