YWCA Australia believes in the power of women. Young women in particular have the power to lead change in our communities. The Young Women’s Council ensures that young women from all across Australia, from all different backgrounds, are represented within our organisation. They have a key role in advising the Board on issues that affect young women.
The Young Women’s Council provide a youth lens to the organisation, including our future planning, advocacy, policy, research, communications, membership and stakeholder engagement.
Our members are:
Zahra Al Hilaly
Zahra is an intersectional feminist, pushing for equitable representation within decision making for marginalised constituencies, including women of colour and migrant and refugee women.
Zahra works within policy and advocacy at a local, national and international level. She currently represents Australia on UN Women’s Generation Equality Task Force, is a part of the World YWCA Women’s Leadership Cohort and sits on multiple advisory boards and round tables including the YWCA Australia Young Women’s Council and the WA Ministerial Council.
Zahra believes that storytelling is a profound value that will change the world, and it is the stories of underrepresented constituencies that will shift the narrative in creating an intergenerational ripple effect towards achieving gender equality.
Hiba is 20 years old and a first-generation Australian to migrant parents from Iraq. She currently works as an Electorate Officer for a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia while studying Law and Science at Curtin University.
Hiba is also a member of various not-for-profit organisations – most of which are targeted at helping women, migrants, refugees and the less fortunate.
She is a leader in the multicultural community, valuing diversity and inclusion. She is currently the treasurer of the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is a council member for the Young Women’s Council of Australia. She is also the president of her local Labor branch.
Hiba has been actively involved in a voluntary capacity and has greatly assisted many people. She has used her Arabic and English language skills to assist people in a professional and voluntary capacity.
As a culturally and linguistically diverse female living in Australia, Hiba is passionate to provide a voice for those like her and make it easier for them to step up, lead and pursue their goals when challenged by strict traditional perspectives.
Victoria is a Doctoral Research Student in women’s development at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research focuses on how NGO’s can use digital technology to empower women. Victoria is passionate about a range of issues affecting women and hopes to influence policies with her research and passion for making positive change and impact.
Victoria is bold in the face of challenges, passionate about social policy and is determined to contribute to making the world a better place for underprivileged women and children. Outside of serving on the Young Women’s Council Victoria enjoys cooking, dancing, and reading.
Tsyon Feleke is the daughter of two Ethiopian refugees and is a current postgraduate student focusing on Architecture and Urbanism, whilst also volunteering for the UN Online program and as a board member at Make Place. Her interests have guided her to pursue meaningful work in the public sector and she hopes to continue to follow these passions into the workforce.
After displacement her family settled in Australia where she and her siblings were raised in public housing for a number of years during childhood. As a result of these unique and challenging experiences, Tsyon has developed a personal interest in the plight of disadvantaged communities, particularly when considering women’s issues, housing and intersectionality. She hopes her role at the Young Women’s Council will allow her to explore positive outcomes for these communities whilst she continues to advocate for marginalised people.
Isabelle is a policy adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, with recent experience working in the Minister for Women’s Office. Isabelle is on the Board of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, Chairs the PM&C Women’s Network, and is on the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s Future Leaders Committee. Isabelle also works with CARE Australia analysing the impacts of climate change on gender, and with Jasiri Australia to encourage young women to engage with the policy development process.
Isabelle has worked at Legal Aid’s Youth Law Centre, the ACT Human Rights Commission, the Domestic Violence Law Reform and Policy Change group, as well as with the Prison Legal Literacy Clinic. Isabelle is a graduate of the ANU with a Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). Isabelle has always sought to promote gender equity: whilst at ANU, she worked with the Gender Institute to encourage young women to pursue STEM degrees; instituted the women’s mentoring program as the Community Coordinator of Bruce Hall; and led Legal Aid’s Community Legal Education program to promote understanding of the law for young women.
Naomi is a proud Yamatji/ Papuan woman, studying a bachelor’s degree in Social Science/ Arts at the University of Queensland. Naomi grew up in Alice Springs and recently relocated to Brisbane to further her studies. Growing up Aboriginal in a small remote town forced Naomi to be aware of a multitude of social issues faced by Blak women in Australia. As a result, Naomi is passionate about domestic and family violence within Indigenous communities, homelessness affecting Indigenous women and girls, and Indigenous incarceration/ crime rates within the NT. Ultimately, this led to Naomi majoring in Criminology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander studies, and Development at the University of Queensland.
Naomi is a long-term recipient of the Indigenous Youth Leadership Scholarship throughout high school and university. As a result, Naomi understands education and Indigenous female leadership to be vital to furthering intersectional feminism in Australia. Outside of studying and working, Naomi loves to make be creative, make earrings, bake and sing.
Born and raised in Tropical Far North Queensland and recently relocated to Sydney, Maninder Kaur is a young Sikh Australian activist. Maninder has represented her local electorate at the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament and completed the global Education Perfect Science Championships in the top 1% of competitors. Currently, Maninder is studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) majoring in microbiology and genomics at the University of Sydney.
Maninder is passionate about education, social justice, climate change, rights of refugees and addressing the global wealth disparity. She has a strong drive to see social change and is inspired by the journeys and determination of leaders like AOC.
Varsha is a 20-year-old student and social activist from Darug Land in Sydney, studying a BA of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at UNSW. Her lived experiences have expanded her interest in the place where gender literacy, disability advocacy and social innovation coincide.
She is currently a Youth Activist for Plan International Australia, a not-for-profit dedicated to humanitarian aid and development as well as gender equality initiatives and research. As well as this, she is part of the 2019 Young Social Pioneer cohort for the Foundation of Young Australians under the accessibility stream where she is working on tackling the stigma surrounding communication disabilities.
People are at the heart of what she does and she is passionate about creating dialogues and spaces for all and every experience of being human.
Shay is a creative professional, podcaster, community advocate & media student, from regional South Australia, now based on Kaurna Land (Adelaide). She has worked as a community broadcaster at Radio Adelaide for 7+ years, & co-founded queer program ‘Pride & Prejudice’.
Shay is passionate about advocacy & education for chronic pain health issues endometriosis & PCOS as well as industrial issues for women in the workplace. She is a proud supporter of the ongoing campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work.
Shay enjoys following politics, comedy and true crime podcasts and some of her favourite feminists include Celeste Liddle, Janet Mock and Sofie Hagan.
Location: Broken Hill
Moana is a proud Ngiyampaa woman and intersectional feminist working in community and stakeholder engagement with the NSW government. She is passionate about amplifying the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. Her studies in town planning have led to a successful career in government, holding positions in both state and federal government, where she has championed workplace diversity and inclusion.
Aisha is a third-year university student and is studying International Relations. She has been heavily involved in a number of social justice groups in a variety of roles ranging from volunteering to leadership positions. Her most notable roles include being the 2019 ANU Ethnocultural Department Officer, being the ACT State Coordinator for Democracy in Colour, and being a State Representative for the ACT for We Are the Movement.
Outside of serving on YWCA’s Young Women’s Council, Aisha enjoys watching TV crime shows, reading, and developing new skills (she’s currently learning how to knit!).
Tina is a first-generation Vietnamese Australian lawyer based on Kaurna Land / Adelaide. Through life and law, Tina has seen how powerful education, advice, advocacy, trauma-informed approaches, and ultimately, impactful leadership can be in empowering individuals.
Tina’s deep interest in human rights, identity, cultural issues and feminism has led her to work closely with the South Australian Law Reform Institute during her University studies and lead the student-run mental health and wellbeing program in law school for 3 years.
Outside of her 9 to 5, Tina loves creating art, having a boogie, and kickboxing! She hopes that as a member of the Young Women’s Council, she can continue to elevate the voices of all women and encourage others to do the same.