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:
Sharifah Emalia Al-Gadrie
Sharifah Emalia Al-Gadrie is a community development worker and artist based in Nipaluna/Hobart. Emalia is a Project Officer at A Fairer World, Treasurer for human rights advocacy group, Citizen and elected member of the YWCA Young Women’s Council.
Currently, she also works as an assistant curator and community programmer for Salamanca Arts Centre. Her multidisciplinary creative practice explores identity, gender politics, connection and cultural heritage. She is informed in her work and her creative practice by intersectional feminism.
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 story telling 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.
Profile to come.
Location: Hindmarsh Valley
Profile to come.
Profile to come.
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.
Profile to come.
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.
Julia designs and scales social impact initiatives through innovative leadership, human centred design, curiosity and optimism. Julia has project managed Australian Red Cross’s humanitarian response to COVID-19 and works to design and develop strategic solutions to prepare people for the impacts of disasters. Previous roles with Red Cross have included management, youth resilience and community engagement through which she has developed strong relationships across sectors and driven a culture of volunteer leadership.
In a voluntary capacity, Julia has led strategic projects for NGOs, these have included youth-led organisation Big Week Out, women’s leadership organisation Spence Club and sporting events.
Julia has served as a Director of YWCA since 2018, a member of the Young Women’s Council since 2019 and a Director of YH and YNH since 2020, having previously collaborated with YWCA Adelaide on youth resilience and leadership projects. Julia has also served on governance committees for Spence Club, Lockington Horse Trials, the Pony Club Association of SA and in Ex. Officio capacity for the Red Cross South Australian Youth Advisory Committee.
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.
Heidi La Paglia
Location: Austins Ferry
Heidi La Paglia is a young woman with disability who has worked at Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) since the beginning of 2019. In this time Heidi has worked on various initiatives, including developing WWDA’s Our Site website in collaboration with over 100 women and girls with disability and coordinating WWDA’s Youth Network for young disabled women and girls.
Heidi previously completed Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Philosophy and Arts Honours degrees at University and was heavily involved in the student union movement through which she advocated for the rights of women students and students with disabilities.
In 2016 Heidi was the National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Officer and worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission as well students from every state and territory to implement the first ever national inquiry into sexual violence on campuses.
In her spare time, Heidi likes to listen to audiobooks, go for walks and spend time with her partner and three cats.
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.
Aurora is a year 12 student, feminist and disability advocate from Gymea NSW. For Aurora, her experiences as a young woman living with a disability drive her social justice journey. Aurora is passionate about body autonomy, sexual and reproductive rights, domestic violence and breaking down social stigmas and shame. Aurora’s vision for a gender equal society is one where women have the freedom make decisions and to live the way they chose, without being questioned.
Outside of studying Aurora loves to read, cook spend time with her Terrier dogs and watch TV crime shows.
Profile to come.
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.