Natasha Stott-Despoja AM was for many years the youngest woman ever to enter the Australian Federal Parliament and the longest-serving Democrat Senator in the party’s history. She served as a Senator for South Australia from 1995 until 2008, and was leader of the Australian Democrats from 2001 until 2002. She has an extraordinary resume. A graduate of the University of Adelaide, Ms Stott-Despoja was the President of the Students’ Association of the University of Adelaide and the state women’s officer for the National Union of Students in South Australia: one of many roles she has held during her career that focus on the rights of girls and women. She was appointed a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1999, and has been a member of numerous boards, including beyondblue, the Museum of Australian Democracy, the Advertising Standards Board and the Burnet Institute.
More recently, she was appointed as the founding Chairperson of Our Watch (the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children). In this capacity, she has worked tirelessly to: raise awareness of the incidence and prevalence of violence against women and children, to explore options for the prevention of violence against women and children, the importance of gender equality and respect, and the important links between gendered language and gendered violence. In 2013, she was named as Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, where she continues this work at a global level.