A Tribute to Juli Dugdale

This week, we heard of the sad passing of YWCA Australia Life Member, Juli Dugdale. Juli has been an integral part of the YWCA movement for over 30 years as a member, staff member and volunteer and during this time has been an unwavering advocate and champion for young women’s leadership.

During her time at YWCA Australia, Juli became the first young woman to be elected Vice-President of the Board and then went on to serve as CEO of the organisation. Juli later coordinated the 2003 World Council which was hosted in Brisbane and brought together 1000 women from 100 countries to discuss global gender issues.

“The name Juli is synonymous to the words “Young Women’s Leadership”. She helped shape my life, my career, my passion and has inspired me to emulate her style of shared inter-generational leadership that is truly bold and transformative…When I grow up, I want to be like Juli Dugdale.”

Naomi, RiseUp! Young Woman Coordinator, YWCA Papua New Guinea

In 2008, Juli relocated to Geneva and led the World YWCAs work in young women’s leadership, most recently holding the role of Advisor, Global Programming and Impact. Juli offered a strong link between the Australian movement and the World YWCA Office and her belief in the leadership capacity of young women led to a multi-year partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the development of the ‘Rise Up’ manual – a global guide for young women’s transformative leadership launched in 2018.

“Juli is the YWCA and always will be! she is the very manifestation of all of the qualities we hold dear to our movement, inter-generational leadership, empowerment and true feminist friendships that give you support and inspiration in ways you never knew you needed.

I spent almost a year in Geneva, Switzerland while an intern at the World YWCA and experiencing Juli’s mentorship, light and love has changed my life forever and I am honoured to have known her professionally and personally. Her legacy will live on through her empowerment of all those she encountered in her life and in her work in YWCA’s around the world, a true friend, a true feminist and a true YWCA women!”

Jade Brady, staff and member of YWCA Australia, member YWCA Ireland and Former World YWCA Intern 2018

Juli practiced what we all preach – intergenerational leadership founded on the principles of feminism, inclusion and equality. In doing so she became a mentor, leader, peer and advocate for so many women and young women around the world. The outpouring of love and grief shared on social media this week demonstrate how many lives Juli touched, and the profound impact she had on young women on every continent.

“I’ve always seen in [Juli] a quiet strength and dignity that I respect so much. In this way, Juli hasn’t told me what it means to be a feminist, a mentor, and an inter-generational leader; she has shown me. There are so many amazing women in my life – brilliant, passionate, energetic, visionary, strong women – and while I admire them all, there’s few who I really want to be like. [Juli is] one of them. [She has] taught me to be confident and comfortable with who I am, but also to be strong and challenge myself to be who I want to see myself as. I love every minute of working with [Juli] and the YWCA team.”

Katrina, researcher at Monash University, Australia

For those who got to work with Juli, it was a privilege. For those who didn’t, be assured that her legacy continues in the work we do every day and in the mission of the YWCA movement.

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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