Speakers Profile - Wendy McCarthy AO

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Wendy McCarthy has made her mark on this country in many extraordinary ways. For more than 50 years, she has been on the leading edge of feminism and corporate and public life in Australia and her trail-blazing advocacy and leadership have made her a widely respected and revered figure. Wendy is a woman who shaped her times as much as she was shaped by them, and now at 81 years of age, she shares her remarkable life and achievements, and the lessons she learned - and taught us all.
From sheltered country schoolgirl to relentless campaigner for abortion and contraception, from passionate teacher to lifelong advocate for education, to smashing that glass ceiling again and again and showing the way to subsequent generations of women, Wendy has championed change across the public, private and community sectors, in education, family planning, human rights, public health, overseas aid and development, conservation, heritage, media and the Arts.

As she says, "My story is about a determined girl who was the first in the family to go to university. It is the story of how my generation of women changed Australia. We fought to have our voices heard and imagined a different Australia: an Australia in which girls had the opportunity to. Complete secondary education, where women who had missed out on education had a second chance. An Australia where there was equal pay, and universal access to safe contraception and abortion. Where childcare and early learning was accessible and affordable. Where a mantra of political action for women could be: A woman's place is in the House and in the senate".

Over decades of feminist activism Wendy has encouraged women to find their voice and listen to it.