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HomeAfrica, Australia & NZHistoric Induction of Five Desi Women into Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Historic Induction of Five Desi Women into Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Australia

Melbourne’s renowned Arts Centre, a record-breaking five South Asian women joined the esteemed ranks of the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. This distinguished recognition is a resounding acknowledgment of their exceptional contributions, commemorating their profound influence on the vitality of Victoria.

The Victorian Honour Roll of Women is a distinguished platform that diligently identifies and commemorates the remarkable achievements of women from various fields, underscoring their indelible contributions to life in Victoria. This year, South Asian women have left an indelible mark across all four categories of the honour roll, marking an extraordinary milestone in the history of the initiative.

Natalie Hutchins, the Victorian Minister for Women, stands proudly beside these accomplished women, celebrating their exceptional achievements and emphasizing the integral role the Honour Roll plays in propelling gender equality, as well as the vision of a more inclusive society.

Minister Hutchins articulated, “The Victorian Honour Roll of Women, year after year, plays an essential role in ensuring that we shine a brighter spotlight on the women who have made significant and lasting contributions to our community, state, and nation. Thanks to the Honour Roll, hundreds of women have been celebrated for their expertise, insights, actions, and advocacy over two decades, collectively steering us toward a more gender-equal society.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Honour Roll has welcomed over 700 outstanding women into its distinguished folds, even posthumously honoring prominent Victorian figures, including Dame Nellie Melba.

This year’s ceremony witnessed the induction of 22 women into the Honour Roll across the four categories: Change Agents, Emerging Leaders, Local Champions, and Trailblazers.

Meet the 2023 Inductees

Anam Javed – Category: Trailblazer

Anam is one of 16 Master Teachers appointed by the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership, where she works with Technologies teachers from across all sectors in Victoria, within the Teaching Excellence Program.

Anam has played a pivotal role in elevating the status of STEM practitioners and educators, and in particular women in STEM, across Victoria.

Anam was part of the team of women who launched the not-for-profit organization SistaHub in 2021, with the aim of providing a culturally responsive safe space to Muslim communities where they could access accurate information, resources and support regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccinations.

Lalisha Thapa – Category: Local Champion

Lalisha is the Vice President of the Nepalese Association of Victoria (NAV). She also established the NAV Women’s Forum, breaking barriers and fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity and empowerment. 

This significant step towards gender equality has encouraged more Nepalese women to step into leadership roles and make a lasting impact within their community. She is also an executive member of the Australian Nepalese Multicultural Centre representing NAV.

Thenu Herath -Category: Emerging Leader

As the former CEO of The Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s largest youth-run international development agency, Thenu has made a significant impact by supporting young people to lead social change in their communities. 

During her tenure, her team launched a new impact model that shifts resources to young people in the Asia-Pacific, with a growing focus on gender equality and climate initiatives. 

In addition to her continued role on Oaktree’s Board, Thenu actively engages and advocates for inclusion and access for women and youth in her roles as a Board Member of the Australian Council for International Development and Green Collect, a local Melbourne-based social enterprise. 

She was also appointed to the global executive committee of the Commonwealth Youth Human Rights and Democracy Network.

Anushka Vandani Phal – Category: Emerging Leader

Anushka is dedicated to creating a safe and inclusive space for people from diverse backgrounds to seek accessible and culturally informed mental health care. 

As a practising psychologist, Anushka recognised the need for a culturally responsive practice and established Umeed Psychology to address this crucial gap in the mental health field.

Anushka’s commitment to inclusive care ensures that clients from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds feel safe, included, understood, heard, and represented. Anushka is also an Ambassador for the Australia New Zealand Mental Health Association, where she contributes to making a global impact in the field of mental health.

Manasi Wagh – Category: Change Agent

Manasi is a passionate educator and advocate, with over 13 years’ experience working with various multicultural population groups across both education and non-profit sectors. 

As a migrant woman she brings a wealth of lived experience and understanding of predicaments faced by newly arrived migrant and refugee people. 

She has years of experience working in health education, family violence prevention and financial capability sectors. 

Her ability to take an intersectional, strength-based approach has created measurable social change and empowerment of marginalised population groups. 

She designed the award-winning financial literacy program ‘Let’s Talk Money’. Manasi is a serial entrepreneur and has delighted Australian taste buds with her delicious chai at her The Brew Story company. 

She also is a founder of FinCap Connect, a consultancy firm designing financial capability programs.

With this year’s inductions, Minister Hutchins believes that the Victorian Honour Roll of Women continues to serve as an inspiring beacon, encouraging women to make lasting and transformative contributions to their communities.

She commended the inductees, stating, “I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to this year’s exceptional inductees for their unwavering commitment and dedication to improving the lives of others. Their remarkable journeys pave the way for countless other women to achieve greatness.”

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