Zonta Club of Brisbane celebrates its 50th anniversary

The Zonta Club of Brisbane, Australia, celebrated its 50th anniversary. They marked this celebration by naming a legal trailblazer for her work to stop a national violence crisis against First Nations women as the winner of the club's 2021 Advancement of Women Award.


The Advancement of Women Award is one of the many initiatives the club supports to empower women and girls.


Professor Gwendolen Jull, the club president, awarded Thelma Schwartz the $5,000 Advancement of Women Award at the club's gala anniversary dinner on 8 November in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Thema is a principal legal officer of the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS) and a member of the Queensland Government Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce.


"The judging panel was impressed by what Ms. Schwartz has achieved in her legal career providing services to many victims and survivors of family violence across the state. But it is her ongoing and tireless advocacy against the national crisis of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children that is at the heart of this award. Ms. Schwartz has taken this to a national level, serving on task forces, committees and panels as well as appearing and speaking out in the media while always remaining grounded in the lived experiences of First Nations women and children," said Gwendolen. 


The judging panel also awarded Ms. Maggie Shambrook, the founder of the Housing for Older Women (HOW) network, with the $2,500 encouragement award for her work in assisting unhoused women. Maggie gathered more than 100 community organizations and individuals to establish HOW, a catalyst for change leading to state-government lead initiatives. The judging panel was impressed with Maggie's commitment to older unhoused women or at risk of losing their homes. The club believes that Maggie has genuinely brought the crisis of unhoused oldaer women into the public spotlight and onto the policy agenda.


"50 years [have] passed since Zonta Club of Brisbane held its first meeting in 1971, and since then, the club has supported hundreds of women and girls to have an education, provided assistance to women's refuges and helped fund international projects to help women around the world. Celebrating our golden anniversary strengthens our resolve to continue to advocate for women," concluded Gwendolen.


For more information, visit zontabrisbane.org.au