NSW Women of the Year Awards

They are leaders and entrepreneurs, activists and trailblazers in our communities. They are women who make a difference every day – in every state.

Introducing USA TODAY’s 2024 Women of the Year, 60 women across the country using their voices and determination to push for change and equality, and even joy.

They inspire us, influence us, and make us laugh. They include women such as director and actress Eva Longoria pushing for accurate portrayals of Latinos, and Nebraska’s Asheli Spivey improving the lives of Black moms. They are 17-year-old Eva Lighthiser of Montana challenging her state to consider how environmental change affects future generations. And they are Tennessee’s Melissa Alexander, Becky Bailey Hansen, Mary Joyce, and Sarah Shoop Neumann, four moms bound together after Nashville’s Covenant School shooting, working to make schools safer.

“Growing up, I didn’t know what a feminist was. Now I see that I was surrounded by them,” she said. “Women who didn’t have the chance to go to school themselves, but who pushed every day for better education, for more equality, for more recognition in the village. Who dedicated themselves to making sure their children’s lives would be better than theirs. Women like my mother who left an unhappy marriage and raised eleven children on her own.”

That doesn’t mean that someone has to abide by the rules in order to create good energy in the world, the four-time Emmy award-winner reminded the crowd.

“What I learned as I grew older, from all of my light-bearing predecessors, is when to fall out of line,” Henson said, citing “Black women leading the way to freedom from the swampy terrains of the south, to women organizing countless movements for equality and our rights.”

Henson was recognized among this year’s TIME Women of the Year for speaking out about her own experiences with pay inequity as indicative of a greater problem in Hollywood. “To my fellow recipients, congratulations. It’s an honor to share this space with you,” she said.

Five outstanding NSW women have been named the recipients of the NSW Women of the Year Awards 2024 at a ceremony held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney this morning.

Thirty-three women and girls have been recognised across 6 award categories, receiving the highest commendation for their contributions to community, industry and society in NSW.

Since 2012, the annual NSW Women of the Year Awards have played a key role in recognising the women and girls whose determination, bravery, skill and passion has inspired their communities and others to achieve great things.

The NSW Women of the Year Awards 2024 is a celebrated event at the heart of NSW Women’s Week, which runs from Monday 4 March to Sunday 10 March and includes International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March.

The award recipients for each of the 6 categories are:

  • Jessica Hill, Premier’s NSW Woman of Excellence

    Jessica is a Walkley Award–winning journalist, advocate and public speaker who specialises in the subjects of coercive control and gendered violence.

  • Monica Mudge, NSW Community Hero

    Monica is the visionary behind Treading Lightly Inc, a not-for-profit organisation that stands at the forefront of environmental advocacy in the Yuin region of NSW.

  • Theresa Mitchell, NSW Regional Woman of the Year

    Theresa founded Agape Outreach Inc in 2009, a charity that focuses on assisting the homeless and those in need.

  • Dr Casey Sullivan, NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year

    Dr Sullivan, a proud Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman, is a General Practitioner (GP) who owns her own medical practice in Tamworth – the first Indigenous privately-owned and managed GP practice in NSW.

  • Noor Azizah, NSW Young Woman of the Year

    Noor, a Rohingya refugee, defied adversity to become a passionate advocate and educator. She is a co-founder and Director of the Rohingya Maìyafuìnor Collaborative Network, a Rohingya-led and refugee-led organisation.

  • Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said:

    “Congratulations to all the finalists and recipients of the NSW Women of the Year Awards for being role models for the next generation of superstars.

    “The record number of nominations this year is testament to the importance of these awards, but more importantly, a reflection of the broad impact women are having across our state.

    “It is vital we recognise and support those who continue to challenge inequality, innovate and promote progress in their fields. I look forward to following their journeys as they continue to inspire others.”

  • Nominee is a woman or girl residing in NSW. 
  • Self-nominations will be accepted.
  • Awards will not be granted posthumously.
  • Sitting state and federal politicians and current vice-regal officers are not eligible.
  • Retired politicians and vice-regal officers will be considered for work undertaken in addition to their official duties.
  • A previous winner cannot receive a second award in the same award category but can be considered for recognition in a separate category in following years.
  • Unsuccessful nominees, including previous finalists may be re-nominated in subsequent years. Re-nominations must highlight achievements and/or contributions accomplished after the previous nomination.
  • Groups of people or couples will not normally be eligible though in exceptional cases the selection panels reserve the right to consider such nominations.
  • Nominees for the NSW Young Woman of the Year must be aged 16 to 30 years.
  • Nominees for the Ones to Watch must be aged 7 to 15 years.
  • Age criteria as of 7 March 2024.
  • Nominees for the NSW Aboriginal Women of the Year must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • Nominees for the NSW Regional Woman of the Year must reside outside of Newcastle, Wollongong and Greater Sydney.
  • Nominees must consent to their nomination before an entry is submitted.
  • Nominations will be accepted from 9:00am on Thursday 31 August 2023 to 11:59pm on Tuesday 24 October 2023.
  • Nominations must be submitted online. Hard copy nomination forms will not be accepted. Please email WomenOfTheYear@premiersdepartment.nsw.gov.au if you have any difficulty submitting your nomination online. 
  • All required fields must be completed and criteria must be addressed for the nomination to be considered valid.
  • Nominators must provide required contact details for themselves and their nominee including an active email address and mobile phone contact number.
  • Entry is conditional upon confirmation of eligibility by the selection panel.
  • Nominees may be contacted by the Premier’s Department to request additional information including a photo and biography.
  • Nominees who progress through the assessment process will be subject to a National Police Background Check and referee check.
  • An awards ceremony will be held during NSW Women’s Week 2024 (4-10 March) in Sydney and finalists will need to be available to attend the event.
  • Travel arrangements to attend the Ceremony in March will be organised for finalists where required. 
  • A nominee can be entered into more than one category using separate nomination forms.
  • The panel reserves the right to move your nomination to another award category if they deem it more suitable.
  • All nomination forms and materials submitted remain the property of the Premier’s Department.
  • Entry into the NSW Women of the Year Awards is deemed acceptance of the Terms and Conditions.

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