Natasha Stott Despoja AO


Natasha Stott Despoja AO
CEW Member

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls

Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Founding Chair, Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, known as ‘Our Watch’

As Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja is responsible for high-level advocacy to promote policies on gender equality and the social, political and economic empowerment of women. Her role involves working in partnership towards conflict prevention and peace-building; ending violence against women and girls; and improving access to health and education services.

Natasha works closely with foreign governments, international organisations and the community to promote better outcomes for women and enhance the participation of women in decision-making. She has an enduring interest in women's leadership, particularly political and parliamentary leadership, and has previous experience as an election monitor in countries such as Nigeria and Cambodia. She chairs regional conferences and has addressed the UN Security Council.

A former senator for South Australia, Natasha held the positions of Leader and Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats and is the longest-serving Democrat Senator in the party's history.

She remains the youngest woman ever to enter Federal Parliament.

Natasha was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queens Birthday Honours in 2019 for distinguished service to the global community as an advocate for gender equality, and through roles in a range of organisations. In 2011, in recognition of her services to the Australian Parliament, education and as a role model for women, Natasha was made a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2001, she was appointed ‘A Global Leader for Tomorrow’ by the World Economic Forum.

Natasha is the former Deputy Chair of beyondblue, a Patron and former non-executive board member of the Burnet Institute, and has served on the boards of the South Australian Museum, the Advertising Standards Board and the Museum of Australian Democracy. She was an Ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia, and is an Ambassador for The Orangutan Project and the HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign, ENUF.

Natasha is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide; a columnist for The Adelaide Advertiser, an occasional ABC radio host and a regular guest panellist on Channel 10’s The Project.

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