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Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award

Celebrating and recognising the exceptional contribution women make in their communities

The Women Hold Up Half the Sky award recognises an outstanding woman who has made a great contribution to the community, is part of the Australia Day awards and honours and is jointly coordinated by the Office for Women.

The Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award has taken its name from a well-known piece of art by internationally recognised South Australian artist Ann Newmarch AO.

The award is awarded by the Minister for Human Services with responsibility for the Status if Women the Hon Michelle Lensink MLC


If you need assistance writing your nomination check our out our selection criteria and tips for nominating


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2019 Recipient

Emmah Evans

Cystic Fibrosis is the most common life threatening, hereditary illness effecting primarily the lungs and digestive system and this year’s Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award recipient is a proven Cystic Fibrosis fighter. Emmah Evans is an inspirational role model, as well as being a wife and mother, who is committed to changing lives for the better and is proof that a disability should not define you.


Past Recipients


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2018 - commendation - Margaret Hampel

Margaret Hampel has been an outstanding contributor to the South Australian Country Women’s Association. Margaret has been a member for over 60 years and has been a key member of the Loxton district, state wide and the Pacific region through the associated activities of the association and SACWA’s Women of the World activities. On many occasions she has been the friendly face of the organisation, assisting women experiencing domestic violence, during times of bushfires as well as encouraging women to learn new skills and connecting them to other women in the organisation in order to draw support. Margaret was instrumental with her Loxton District Branch Members in the making of 55 quilted rugs for the APY lands all from donated fabrics. As State Treasurer for SACWA in 1996, she was the overseer of a complete overhaul of the organisation’s financial structures to ensure the increased efficiency and financial coherence of the organisation so it could more readily respond to women and children across the State.


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2018 - Sarah Gun

Sarah Gun is a passionate advocate and entrepreneur who established Gogo events as a social enterprise with the explicit aim of training homeless and disadvantaged people to produce décor items and event materials, then employ these trainees to install their events. Through her work with Gogo events Sarah goes to significant lengths, by committing to environmental and socially sustainable practises in all areas of event design. Gogo events are a pathway to employment partner and in the first 6 months of 2016-17 together with the Hutt Street Centre they created 100 plus paid work opportunities. Through her work and the partnerships she has created, Sarah is changing lives and empowering people to build their confidence and capacity. Sarah as a Committee member organised Gogo Events 7th Big Lunch, raising funds for the Big Issue. She acts as a broker between corporate clients who value corporate social responsibility, the agencies supporting disadvantaged women and has been instrumental in creating paid and meaningful work for people experiencing homelessness. It is Sarah’s desire to create lasting social change to the event industry and tackling entrenched disadvantage that has been inspirational.


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2017 - commendation - Lisa Lumsden

Lisa Lumsden is an advocate in her local community of Port Augusta, standing up for those in regional areas and making a difference. Generously donating her time she has been a key figure in the “Repower Port Augusta” campaign, working voluntarily to help transition her community from coal to concentrating solar thermal power generation. She is also an influential Councillor on the Port Augusta City Council who has demonstrated leadership in many areas, being a key advocate for children’s services and having a larger community involvement in council decision making. She played a key role in establishing the ‘Our House’ community clubhouse in Port Augusta, a place that is offering much needed peer support and activities for people with mental illness and their carers. Lisa is also a voluntary member of the Port Augusta Communities for Children Steering Committee, advocating for the most disadvantaged young children in Port Augusta and the ‘Our House’ Community Clubhouse Management. All in the midst of this she is raising two young boys and has started a business showcasing her own custom artwork creations. Lisa is working at a community level proving that one person can make a difference and help inspire future generations. 


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2017 - Sandra Dann

As an advocate for women’s rights Sandra Dann has been a tireless campaigner especially for those without a voice or another to be their advocate. Sandra’s entire professional life has been devoted to the service of others. She is the current director of the Working Women’s Centre, a role she has held since 1998. Whilst being passionate about many aspects of women’s rights, Sandra has been a key campaigner in the prevention of violence against women. Raising awareness of domestic violence (DV) as a workplace issue and the vital need for DV leave. She is accredited to deliver the SA Government’s White Ribbon Organisation Training to SA Government agencies and is the only South Australian accredited to deliver the University of NSW’s Safe at Home, Safe at Work program. Her influence has reached a global level with Sandra establishing the first and only Working Women’s Centre in Timor-Leste where she remains an ongoing advisor to the Board and staff. Sandra is a very worthy recipient, having inspired so many people with her passion and advocacy for Women’s Rights.


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2016 - commendation - Judith Wirtz

Judith is an incredible person who is celebrating her 25th Anniversary of volunteering for the Warradale Branch of Meals on Wheels and has also served on the committee as the Client Welfare Officer since the early 1990s. Judith is a great example of selfless volunteering for the betterment of ones community.


Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2016 - Tara Fatehi

Born into a Kurdish family in war-torn Kurdistan, Tara Fatehi fled her homeland at the age of three. After migrating to Australia, Tara was determined to give back to her community. A PhD student studying medicine, Tara has founded the Adelaide Kurdish Youth Society with the aim of helping her community promote its rich culture and forge strong ties within Australian society. She also co-founded the Kurdistan Health Project and is an Australian Ambassador for youth-led charities such as the Wham project which aims to create the largest English library in South Kurdistan and Iraq. Passionate about social justice, Tara uses her education, knowledge and experience to help migrants and refugees build a better life in Australia.

 For more information about this award please contact the Australia Day Council on (08) 8212 3999 or

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