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Inspiring South Australian Women’s Award


The Inspiring South Australian Women’s Award (formerly known as the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award), recognises an outstanding woman who has made a  significant contribution to the community. The Award is part of the Australia Day awards and honours and is jointly coordinated by the Australia Day Council of South Australia and the Office for Women.


The award is  provided by the Minister for Human Services, the Hon Michelle Lensink MLC, who is responsible for the Status of Women portfolio.
If you need assistance writing your nomination check our out our selection criteria and tips for nominating.


Nominations are now closed for 2022. We thank you for taking the time to submit a nomination.


 Award Categories

  • Inspiring SA Women’s Award
  • Emerging Leader’s Award

A Commendation Award may be bestowed to encourage the future potential of the nominee.


Nominees Must

  • Be an Australian Citizen
  • Work and reside in South Australia
  • Have made an outstanding contribution  to the community


Selection Criteria

  • Achievement in their field
  • Contribution to the community
  • Acting as an inspirational role model


Process of Nomination

  • Explain the nominee’s achievements and the reasons for the nomination
  • Provide background information and any supporting materials.
  • Outline how the nominee has made an  outstanding contribution  and their service to the community. This can be but is not limited to the areas of education, health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives, charitable and voluntary services, multicultural initiatives, arts and media, prevention of violence, sport and recreation, disability, science and medicine, business and environmental impact

Individuals and organisations may submit nominations
Sitting state and federal politicians and current vice-regal officers are not eligible

Nominations should include a written submission from the nominating person or organisation of between 500-2,000 words.


Process of Selection

  • The Selection Panel will consist of representatives from the Office for Women, a community member from the Premier's Council for Women and the Australia Day Council of South Australia
  • The Award will be announced and presented by the, Minister for Human Services, Hon Michelle Lensink MLC, at the Australia Day Awards Ceremony at Government House.


Inspiring South Australian Women Award 2021 Recipient

Dawn Jennings

Dawn Jennings is a compassionate, devoted and selfless carer who has fostered children since the early 1990’s – providing all of these children with a safe and nurtured start in life all while raising children of her own.

Parents understand the complex yet rewarding privilege it is to raise children and Dawn has lived this experience 91 times within the fostering environment. She has safeguarded young children until permanent homing solutions were discovered and secured. Dawn opened her home and heart to support and guide these children in their very early years. When asked to describe Dawn many have used the following terms and phrases; inspiring, selfless, humble, strong, a loving woman and someone who is undeniably deserving of recognition for her incredible impact within the community.


Inspiring South Australian Women Award 2021 - Dual Emerging Leader Recipients

Laura Campbell and Caylin Bristow

For women only in their early twenties, Laura and Caylin are exemplary role models within their local and community. Their recognised mentoring and leadership skills has resulted in both these young women becoming Directors at the Christies Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

Engaging both Laura and Caylin in directorship roles within this surf lifesaving club has been a positive experience benefitting the wider community. It has enabled the club to address and work through bullying, body shaming and social exclusion issues experienced by many young people on a regular basis.   Laura and Caylin have helped to foster a culture of inclusivity and acceptance as well welcoming for all young people.  Both Laura and Caylin have created the successfully embraced initiative “surf sisters” camp.  This initiative promotes a safe environment for young females to build self-esteem and a sense of belonging in a male dominated environment. Laura and Caylin are two admirable young women who are passionate about enhancing unity and encouraging diversity across the wider community.


Inspiring South Australian Women Award 2021 - Commendation Emerging Leader 

Kaitlin Purcell

Kaitlin has supported the introduction of women’s football across many regional communities as well as inspire many to connect with this code. Kaitlin established the second league to exist under the Great Southern Football League for females and received 2018 Female Coach of South Australia from North Adelaide Football Club. Her passion and commitment to the sporting industry is demonstrated through her multiple volunteering roles including the role of sports trainer for the Australian Combined Emergency Services, the Australian Police Football Association and committee member for the far North Football League. In this league, Kaitlin commenced and coached the junior girls football teams. Her work in supporting the community is further highlighted through her ambassadorial role for Around the Camp Fire, a not-for-profit sporting organisation with an aim to promote reconciliation and encourage diversity on the sporting field. Kaitlin is an inspiring pioneer for young females across the whole State, through her hardwork and determination she has helped to remove barriers as well as motivate younger generations to pursue their true passions.


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