Australian Ambassadors and other representatives
Ambassador for Women and Girls
The Ambassador for Women and Girls is a lead advocate for Australia’s work on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the human rights of women and girls.
The Ambassador for Women and Girls engages in international advocacy, public diplomacy, and outreach in support of Australian Government policies and programs to:
- promote gender equality
- empower women and girls socially, politically and economically
- eradicate violence against women and girls
- eliminate discrimination against women and girls
- ensure better educational and health (including sexual and maternal health) opportunities and outcomes for women and girls
- eradicate trafficking in women and girls
- protect women and girls in conflict and promote the role of women in peace-building
- enhance the participation of women in decision-making and leadership.
On 31 January 2022, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Minster for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, appointed Christine Clarke CSC as the Ambassador for Women and Girls.
Prior to her appointment, Christine had a lengthy navy career, and served as Australia’s Defence Adviser and Attaché to New Zealand, Cook Islands and Chile; was Head of the ADF Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office; and served as Commanding Officer of HMAS Kuttabul. She was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in the Australia Day Honours List in 2013 for excellence in leadership.
The Office of the Ambassador for Women and Girls was established by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and former Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis in September 2011. Ms Penny Williams was Australia's first Ambassador for Women and Girls, followed by Ms Natasha Stott-Despoja (2013-2016) and Dr Sharman Stone (2017-2019). On 8 March 2020 the former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, announced Ms Julie-Ann Guivarra as Ambassador for Gender Equality, Ms Guivarra left the position on 1 October 2021. The creation of the Ambassador position reflects the Australian Government's commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, including advancing the human rights of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.