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Office for Women

Premier's Council for Women

The Premier's Council for Women was established in December 2002 to provide leadership and advice to the South Australian Government in respect to the needs and interests of women through the provision of well-informed and strategic advice on policies, programs and matters of significance to women.

About us

How we started

The Premier's Council for Women, comprising leaders of various fields, was created in December 2002 to provide leadership and advice to ensure that the interests and needs of women are at the forefront of the South Australian Government's policies and strategies.

Established by the Premier and the Minister for the Status of Women, the Council takes an active role in influencing the policy agenda for South Australian women.

Who we are

The Council's members are influential women with expertise in a range of areas such as health, education, disability, business, government, social policy, agribusiness and the arts and include Aboriginal women and women from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

The Office for Women provides executive support to the Premier's Council for Women.

Biography of members

What we do

The Premier's Council for Women works at a strategic level to effect change. Specifically its role is to:

  • advise the Premier and Minister for the Status of Women
  • advocate on behalf of women
  • inform itself about issues affecting women
  • monitor how policies and programs impact on women
  • partner with other organisations
  • influence by providing relevant, strategic information about the impact of gender.

The Council is dedicated to continuous improvement and effective action. It commits time and effort to considering which issues to take on and how to exercise influence, make an impact and assess the impact of its actions.

Our priorities

In 2014 the Premier's Council for Women surveyed women across South Australia to identify priority areas. This resulted in the Council developing a work plan to respond to areas the survey found are of priority to South Australian women.

Key issues for 2014-2018 include:

1. Connecting to women in South Australia

2. Violence against women

  • raise awareness about the nature of violence against women and underlying issues (gender equality)
  • change attitudes about 'the worth of a woman'

3. Workplace flexibility

  • continue to promote Words into Action
  • change attitudes about workplace flexibility

4. Women and leadership

  • promote women in sport and non-traditional industries of employment
  • support women in rural and remote regions in leadership

Terms of reference

The role and responsibilities of the Premier's Council for Women are to:

  • Provide expert policy advice to the South Australian Government on identified policy and program issues and create positive outcomes for South Australian women;
  • Provide recommendations, information and advice to the Premier, the Minister for the Status of Women and the Office for Women, to facilitate a whole of Government approach to ensuring that programs and services match women's needs;
  • Monitor all Government policies and programs related to women and measures of women's progress against set indicators;
  • Develop strategies for dealing with the causes of inequalities for women and to provide leadership to influence and shape women's policy;
  • Develop and maintain appropriate consultation/engagement mechanisms - across Government, with the community and with stakeholders that ensure a broad based, inclusive process;
  • Provide advice and information to the Office for Women to assist in research activities;
  • Assist the Office for Women to achieve the goals of Office for Women led strategies such as Achieving Women's Equality;
  • Report once a year to the Premier and the Minister for the Status of Women.

PCW Members

Miriam Silva - Chair

Miriam has more than 20 years' experience across multiple industries, including pharmaceuticals, banking and agribusiness, managing large and geographically diverse teams. Miriam is a member of Uni SA Council and South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission. Miriam volunteers with a number of organisations including Muslim Women's Association, International Women's Day Committee, Rotary International and others.

Maria Hagias - Deputy Chair

Maria has extensive experience in domestic violence and associated issues. Through her position as Executive Director of Women's Safety Services SA, undertaking community education, as well as the many board and committee positions she has held, she has raised the awareness of these and women's issues generally.

Maria served as South Australia's representative on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Domestic Violence Advisory Panel.

Maria Hagias

Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan

Lorna is Associate Professor, and Discipline Leader, Social Work at Flinders University. Prior to coming to Flinders, Lorna practiced in a range of settings, including disability advocacy and the management of a loss and grief service. Lorna has been a significant and long term contributor to the development and analysis of disability policy. Her research is currently focused on the Evaluation of the Trial of The National Disability Insurance Scheme through the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders. She speaks and writes regularly on issues related to the disability sector and ethical issues for workers in complex human services.


Anna Lee

After a diverse career spanning the higher education, publishing and entertainment industries, Anna established her own women’s development consultancy in 2008, when her first child was 6 weeks old. Over the next six years Anna’s experience of working with women across all levels of organisational hierarchies, from recent graduates to CEOs, confirmed her long-held belief that workplace gender equality will only be achieved when change occurs at both the individual and systemic level.

In 2014, Anna’s desire to impact on the ‘big picture’ led her to join Leed Consulting. This move saw Anna partnering with her brother Diarmid, a specialist in organisational culture, to offer a holistic approach to gender equality consulting. Anna has held various positions on executive and management committees and is currently Chair of her children’s School Council.


Leah Marrone

Leah is a legal aid lawyer with a strong commitment to social justice and human rights. She is the current President of the Women Lawyers’ Association of SA and has worked in the area of gender equity and women’s rights for over 15 years. Leah is the South Australian representative on the National Australian Women Lawyer's Board.

Leah has worked extensively in the area of employment rights and anti-discrimination. Leah also has specialist skills in Statutory Interpretation, Public Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice.

Leah was awarded as an Alumni Fellow of the University of Adelaide in 2014 for her contribution to the John Bray Law Alumni, in particular for assisting raising funds to help law students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study Law. Leah recently became a member of the Alumni Council of the University of Adelaide.

Leah also works heavily with migrant communities, in particular refugees and asylum seekers. This is especially with her work as Deputy Chair of the non-for-profit organisation, Welcome to Australia.

Kay Matthias

Kay has had a diverse career in the public, private and not-for profit sectors. This experience has given her a great understanding of the cultures of each sector and experience in providing leadership across the sectors. All of Kay's roles have been in senior management/chief executive level range. She has extensive experience in project management and spent some time working with women in SMEs in Ghana Africa, which made her even more tolerant, particularly when working in difficult circumstances. Kay says this was a "life changing experience".

Dr Anuradha Mundkur

Dr Anu Mundkur is a passionate advocate for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. In 2007 she co-founded the Gender Consortium at Flinders University, and until recently served as its Associate Director.  She has worked for over 20 years in the field of gender and international development, including nearly 10 years working, in different roles, on gender projects funded by Australia Aid in the Indo-Pacific region.

Anu co-chairs Academics Stand Against Poverty (Oceania) engaging with researchers and academics to enhance their impact on poverty. She is on the steering committee of the Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women Peace and Security. Anu served as a civil society representative on the Australian Government Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (60th Session).

In recognition of her leadership, in 2015, Anu was inducted into the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll.

Evelyn O'Loughlin

The CEO of Volunteering SA&NT since 2008, Evelyn leads the peak body for volunteering in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Evelyn has 24 years’ experience in senior and executive management roles. Her career has spanned across corporates, government and business, both locally and internationally. Her interest in culture and community has led to a career in the not-for-profit sector. Her work was recognised in 2015 with a nomination to the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll.

Evelyn successfully contributes to the sector with a number of board appointments, including the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia Partnership Board and Together SA’s Board.


Louise Pascale

Louise is a producer, journalist and media consultant with over twenty years of experience. She has worked in Australia and the United Kingdom where her documentaries have been seen on televisions across Europe, the US and the UK. Through her company POP she has worked with NGOs, South Australian businesses and the government sector. One of her longest standing clients is the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia where she uses her skills in communications to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Louise is currently a board member of the Women’s Safety Services of SA and has over twenty years of experience with boards and committees. She is a passionate advocate for the right of all women and children to live free of violence.


Nerida Saunders

Nerida is the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Her previous positions have included Director of Culture and Heritage in the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division, General Manager of the Aboriginal Housing Authority and Executive Director of Children Youth and Family Services within the Department of Families and Communities.

Nerida has a long involvement with social justice issues and was previously a member of the Aboriginal Justice Consultative Committee.

In 2016 Nerida was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in the provision of leadership and advocacy in the area of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.

Nerida Saunders

Vicky Welgraven

Vicky Welgraven is an Adnyamathanha woman, from the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Vicky has always been passionate about Aboriginal women’s rights, reconciliation and education of the wider community about her culture.

Vicky was formerly the South Australian Representative on the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance (NATSIWA) Board from 2014 -2016.From 2011 to 2014, she held the position of Chairperson of Nunga Mi:Minar – a family violence service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in Adelaide.

Reconciliation in Australia is another of Vicky’s passions. In November 2015, in recognition of her experience and work on these issues, she was appointed as a board member of Reconciliation South Australia Committee.

Vicky Welgraven


  • State-wide consultation undertaken during 2010 to provide information about women's concerns and needs as part of the broader community consultations conducted for the Update of South Australia's Strategic Plan. The information heard during the consultation sessions also helped focus the PCW work plan 2011-2013.
  • Helping to establish the Premier's Women's Directory (PWD) - an online directory of women with skills, qualifications and expertise, suitable for appointment to boards and committees. The PWD was established to assist in establishing the gender balance on boards and committees in South Australia. Continually expanded and improved, the Directory is managed by the Office for Women.
  • Commissioning significant research into Gender Disaggregated Data (2004) and the Impact on Women of the Casualisation of the Workforce (2005).
  • Lobbying for reform in equal opportunity legislation (passed in Parliament July 2009).
  • Commissioning research on women's participation in paid employment and working conditions in South Australia, Working Women in South Australia: Progress, Prospects and Challenges (PDF 977.0 KB)  (2009) by Prof Barbara Pocock. The Pocock Report highlighted some startling evidence of SA women's disadvantage in employment, eg if South Australia was to match the national average there would need to be an additional 12,000 women in the state labour market.
  • Arguing successfully for sex-disaggregated analysis of data central to monitoring progress against targets in South Australia's Strategic Plan (2007-2009 then 2010-11). This will help us assess how women are faring across most sectors.
  • Worked with women's advocates and the community in achieving a commitment by the SA Government to include in 2011 a new target for violence against women in the South Australian Strategic Plan.
  • Staging in 2011 a business lunch in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) on the opportunities for companies employing women at leadership levels, which targeted senior male executives in companies working in areas of non-traditional employment for women (350 business leaders attended and awareness was raised).
  • Developing and launching in 2011 Women in Corporate Leadership (WiCL), which was a database of research, media reports, toolkits and other resources for use by individuals and businesses working to improve the diversity in their leadership.
  • Publication in 2013, of Words into Action: A practical guide to achieve gender equity in your workplace and improve your company's performance (online publication).  A guide which sets out Five Key Principles (with supporting actions) for businesses to achieve equal representation of women in senior leadership roles in the workplace. The guide is aimed at boards and executive management who realise the need to address gender equity in their business and are seeking guidance on how to execute practical actions to achieve a more dynamic and progressive workplace.









Contact us

Premier's Council for Women - Secretariat

Ground Floor
101 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000

Postal Address:
GPO Box 292
Adelaide SA 5001

Phone: +61 8 8303 0961
Fax: +61 8 8303 0963

Online contact form

Words into Action

In 2013, the Premier's Council for Women launched a practical guide to assist South Australian businesses to attract, retain and promote women to an executive level.

Words into Action was developed as a response to organisations seeking to turn their commitment to gender equity into practical action.

The Council recognised that if South Australia is to position itself as a dynamic economy and global leader in business, we need to move beyond talking about gender equity and the workforce and start taking action.

There are strong economic reasons to actively implement workplace diversity and inclusiveness policies. Research shows that organisations with men and women equally represented at all levels, including senior levels, perform better.

In speaking with business leaders, the Council realised that many want to see more women at the top but don't know where to begin. Words into Action offers a practical tool to help business leaders turn their words into action.

The guide provides best practice principles, strategies and actions to support enduring female leadership across industry sectors. It also contains case studies from South Australian organisations that value women in leadership within their organisation and regard gender equality as a business imperative.

Useful Links

The Premier's Council for Women has identified the following websites as useful for businesses and individuals seeking to achieve gender equity in their workplace.

Chiefs for Gender Equity

Words into Sporting Action

VicHealth's Equal Footing Toolkit

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Male Champions of Change

Australian Bureau of Statistics Gender Indicators Online

Australian Human Rights Commission - Face the Facts: Gender Equality

Chief Executive Women - Gender Diversity Kit

UK Government's "Think, Act, Report: Gender equality at work"

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DCSI .

Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
Last Updated:
16 May 2017
Printed on:
21 Feb 2018
The Office for Women website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016