on Monday, 21 May 2012. Posted in Sustaining Women's Empowerment in Communities and Organisations, Recognition - Flagship Awards Program


ACLW’s ‘Sustaining Women’s Empowerment in Communities and Organisations’   (SWECO)

Objective and Overview

ACLW’s ‘Sustaining Women’s Empowerment in Communities and Organisations’ (SWECO) Award aims to honour male and female individuals and groups who have developed a sustainable initiative to empower women in a community or organisation. The Award was established in 2011.


2015 SWECO will commence in September 2014 and will have 3 categories:

  1. Empower women in a community or organisation in Australia
  2. Empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in a community or organisation in Australia
  3. Empower women in a community or organisation abroad


2014 SWECO Winners

  • Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) in Victoria was awarded for developing aNo Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) specifically for disadvantaged women exiting family violence and for assisting financially disadvantaged women since 2009 through mentoring women to regain their financial confidence and capability, and reduce their financial dependence on abusive ex-partners. 
  • Raise Foundation in Sydney was commended for theBump Program for young mums aged between 13 and 23 that brings women together across the generations, challenges stereotypes, empowers with education and inspires girls to be the best women they can be, hence breaking the cycle of social, economic and emotional disadvantage. 
  • Women’s Legal Service (Tasmania) Inc was commended for their Girls Gotta Know, an interactive mobile website app and an Australian first for the delivery of legal information and resources to young women aged 14-24. 
  • The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence (JTAFV) in Victoria was awarded for their book WILL MY RABBI BELIEVE ME? Will He Understand? that provides culturally appropriate and sensitive ways for the clergy and professionals to respond to disclosures of family violence, abuse and sexual assault.  
  • Nasiba Akram was commended for sponsoring Afghani refugee women and children in the camps of Pakistan and India and empowering female members of the Australian Afghan community to do the same as well as for strengthening educational opportunities for boys and girls within war torn Afghanistan. 

Winners were awarded in the SWECO Awards Ceremony at Parliament House 

2013 SWECO Winners 

  • Organisation Category 
  • SWECO Gold Award Winner - The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) - The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) is commended for establishing gender equity as a founding principle in its Constitution and for implementing this principle in its management and governance of the Congress.
  • SWECO Silver Award Winner: Angela Yin - Angela Yin is commended for her self-appointed leadership, commitment and dedication to raising awareness and celebrating the achievements of women through the establishment of Queensland Justices Association International Women’s Day project.
  • Community Category 
  • SWECO Gold Award Winner - Julie Verner-Mackay - Julie Verner Mackay is commended for her self-leadership, and for designing and developing a program in response to stakeholders needs. Her motivation to give women the opportunity to access a leadership development program that focuses on self-leadership and enables women to recognise their capacity to lead using their innate strengths, are exemplary. 
  • SWECO Silver Award Winner - Sarah Patricia Valentine = Sarah Patricia Valentine is commended for her self-appointed leadership and shaping her desire to empower other women personally and professionally in Bellarine, Victoria through the Bellarine Business Women venture. 

More information about the 2013 winners


2012 SWECO Winners

  • SWECO’s first round of winners were commended for their leadership, determination and collaboration in establishing significant initiatives for women in the community and in the workplace.
  • • Kat Armstrong was honoured for her leadership in establishing the Women in Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) and its highly valued mentoring program which has an 82% success rate in keeping women out of prison
  • • Ludo McFerran was commended for the introduction of domestic violence entitlements to periods of paid leave and other rights in industrial instruments 
  • • Karen McFadzen was recognised for her initiative to achieve gender diversity at the executive level in Cisco Technical Services Team across Asia Pacific, Japan, and Greater China
  • • Yolanda Vega for establishing the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) 
  • • The Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Group (TLWAG-Q) & the Transform Team in the Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland were recognised for the Women Take the Wheel Project to encourage women to pursue a career in the Transport and Supply Chain industry

Winners received certificates and prize meney. The 2012 Award was sponsored by commercial sponsors


Support for SWECO

This Award has received Statements of support from the following distinguished individuals upon its commencement in 2011.


Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia


Sir Gustav Nossal AC, CBE, FAA, FRS


The Hon Karen Struthers MP, Minister for Community Services and Housing and Minister for Women, Queensland Government


The Hon Pru Goward MP, Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, New South Wales Government

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The Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, New South Wales Government


The Hon Gail Gago MLC, Minister for Regional Development, Public Sector Management, Consumer Affairs, Government Enterprises, Gambling and Minister for the Status of Women, South Australian Government


The Hon Joy Burch MLA, ACT Minister for Women, community services, Arts, Multicultural Affairs, Ageing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs


The Hon Sharon Bird, MP  Federal Member for Cunningham


Eligibility Criteria for SWECO

  • Sex: Female or Male 
  • Age: 18 or older
  •  Nationality: Australian or with Australian permanent resident status
  •  An individual who has won the SWECO Award previously will be ineligible.
  •  Only one application per organisation will be accepted.
  •  Any individual, who works for ACLW, or is a relative of the judges, or works in the organisation of the judges will not be eligible for an award under this program.


SWECO Judging Criteria

SWECO Applications in both categories of Community and Organisations will be evaluated by the Judges according to the following criteria:

  • Leadership: the applicant should demonstrate their leadership skills employed in effectively developing, implementing and evaluating an initiative for achieving and sustaining empowerment of women in a community or organisation.
  • Sustainability: the applicant must describe how the initiative has sustained empowerment for women within the community or organisation, how it will continue in the future and expected outcomes.
  • Impact on women’s empowerment: the applicant should clearly articulate the specific intended effect on women in terms of their economic and social empowerment as well as the actual impact the initiative has on women.
  • Capacity: the applicant should demonstrate their capacity to collaborate with others to seek and utilise assistance and expertise to develop and implement their initiative.
  • Measurable and/or Non-Measurable results: the applicant should provide either quantitative evidence (eg statistics) to show progress toward the stated goal or qualitative evidence such as the milestones reached toward their stated goals.


Judging Panel:

2015 Judging Panel

2014 Judging Panel

2013 Judging Panel 

2012 Judging Panel

The Judging panel reserves the right to defer the awards if there are no suitable recipients and also to consider applications for other categories in the Award. The decision of the Judging Panel is final. 



There will be 4 rankings in each category:

• One First place or Gold Winner

• One Second place or Silver Winner

• One Third place or Bronze Winner

• A Highly Commended Winner

Winners receive prize money, a trophy and an ACLW SWECO Certificate. Online and off-line publicity of the winners and their initiatives will also ensue. All of the winners are honoured in ACLW's Honour Roll

2014 SWECO Award Ceremony at Parliament House, Sydney


Previous SWECO Applications:

2014 SWECO Application

2013 SWECO Application

2012 SWECO Application


Previous SWECO Sponsors:

Major Sponsor of 2014 SWECO: Minter Ellison


Sponsors of 2012 SWECO:

Shopfront University of Technology, Sydney


Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong

Sydney Business School UOW

Target Australia