Past events

Day of Action

On Friday 11 December, YWCA Canberra, in partnership with the Domestic Violence Crisis ServiceToora Women Inc., Doris Women’s Refuge and Beryl Women Inc., hosted a day of action to highlight the issue of violence against women and call on our Government to do more, presenting five specific requests for action.

Gathered on the lawns of Parliament House, we marked a moment of silence for each woman who has lost her life as a result of violence in Australia this year.

Call Me Dad Screening & Panel Discussion

On 2 December 2015, as part of our involvement in the worldwide campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, we hosted a screening of Call Me Dad, an Australian documentary on domestic violence.

Following the documentary screening, a panel discussion was held to further explore the issue. The panel was hosted by Frances Crimmins, Executive Director of YWCA Canberra, and featured:

  • Alisa Draskovic, Founder, This is Not a Wife Beater Campaign
  • Greg Aldridge, Executive Director, Canberra Men’s Centre
  • Station Sergeant Joanne Cameron, Officer in Charge, Family Violence Coordination, ACT Policing

In Conversation with Julia Gillard

On Monday 10 November 2014, YWCA Canberra hosted a special in conversation event with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, discussing her memoir My Story to a sold-out audience of 300 guests. The event, which took place at the National Portrait Gallery, included a one-hour in conversation session with Julie McKay, Vice-President of YWCA Canberra and Executive Director of UN Women Australia. During the discussion, Ms Gillard shared her insights into women’s leadership in Australia, gender equality, the policy decisions she is most proud of, and her life post-politics.

Following the in conversation session, guests were able to meet Ms Gillard and have their copies of My Story signed, while enjoying delicious canapes and drinks. YWCA Canberra was honoured to host Ms Gillard, and excited to bring this unique event to Canberra. Head to our blog for all the highlights of the evening, and check out some great photos from the event.

We would like to thank EY and Random House for their support for this event.

Changemakers Festival – Women leading change: small grants, big impact

On Thursday 23 October, to celebrate the 2014 Changemakers Festival, we hosted a special panel event with three of our 2014 Great Ydeas grant recipients talking about social change, innovation and making a difference from the grassroots up.

Our panellists were:

  • Caitlin Sandercock, who spoke about the Development and Aid Workers Network (DAWN), an online hub that seeks to provide support and advice to development and aid workers;
  • Caterina Giorgi, whose project ‘For Purpose’ will provide professional development and training opportunities to build capacity and skills in people working in the not-for-profit or ‘for purpose’ sector; and
  • Heidi Zajac, who spoke about her project ‘Cooking Circles’, which connects Australian and Timorese young women to share cooking processes and recipes, stories, and build friendships.

The panel was facilitated by YWCA Canberra Communications & Advocacy Officer, Zoya and covered a wide range of topics, including some of the barriers the panellists had experienced so far in their projects; the resilience needed to make change in the community; and their goals and ambitions for the future.

The event was filmed, so keep and eye out for a link to the video coming soon, through our social media pages!

Relationship Things launch – YWCA Week Without Violence 2014

YWCA Canberra launched its newly updated Relationship Things resource during YWCA Week Without Violence on Friday 17 October, with an expert panel event, ‘Relationship Things: what young people need to know’.

The panel, held in partnership with the ANU Gender Institute, explored topics around sex education, respectful relationships and young people. Panelists included:

  • Fiona MacGregor, Director of Community Services, YWCA Canberra
  • Angela Christian-Wilkes, Year 12 student
  • Heidi Yates, Chair, ACT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) Ministerial Advisory Council
  • Sergeant Joanne Cameron, Australian Federal Police

The full Relationship Things resource will be available for purchase in the coming months. Email to join the waiting list and for more information.


V Spot Café hosted an Eat, Pay, Love dinner as part of Anti-Poverty Week in Canberra. The profits from the evening were donated to YWCA Canberra to support our Lanyon Food Hub. An Eat, Pay, Love dinner means you can enjoy a restaurant meal with no set prices.

Guests were asked to pay what they felt the meal was worth, keeping mind that they were also making a contribution to food relief in Canberra via our Food Hub! YWCA Canberra Executive Director Frances Crimmins was guest speaker on the evening.

When: Sunday 12 October
Where: V Spot Café, Garema Place, Canberra City (opposite the Carousel)
What: A delicious vegetarian buffet

Other restaurants are invited to participate by hosting their own Eat, Pay, Love dinner during Anti-Poverty Week. To register your interest, phone Karan Gabriel on 02 6175 9954. To find out more about Anti-Poverty Week and other events planned for Canberra visit

YWCA Computer Clubhouse Grand Opening

After months of planning and building our Computer Clubhouse, YWCA Canberra along with our wonderful partners, launched the Clubhouse at a Grand Opening event on Friday 10 October!

YWCA Canberra’s Computer Clubhouse is an innovative, creative, out-of-school learning space where young people from underserved communities can work with adult mentors to develop new skills, explore their own ideas, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.

Follow the Clubhouse on Facebook and Twitter, and check out the Computer Clubhouse website at

YWCA Canberra’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan Launch

YWCA Canberra invited members and friends to the launch of our 2014-2016 Reconciliation Action Plan on 13 August at our Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre.

Aunty Agnes provided a Welcome to Country, and our Executive Director, Frances Crimmins, and Director of Community Services, Fiona MacGregor, discussed the highlights and importance of YWCA Canberra’s RAP.

YWCA Canberra is committed to not only to taking action on reconciliation within the organisation, but also championing reconciliation among the broader Canberra community.

Fiver4Food Grand Finale Event

On Friday 18 July, we held our Fiver4Food Grand Finale Event at V-Spot Café’! It was an enjoyablenight, filled with great music, food and company.

The appeal raised more than $6000 in food and financial donations. A big thank you to the following people who made this event possible: Chrissie, the owner of V-spot Café in the city, for allowing us to use her cafe, the talented Marianne Scholem for performing, Good Food AU and The Canberra Times for donating a Foodie Prize Pack and everyone who made a tasty dish and donated food and financial donations.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who has donated and supported the Fiver4food Winter Appeal. The support and generosity we received will assist Canberrans doing it tough this winter and keep the Food Hub alive!

WOF+ Design Thinking Crash Course with Clare Conroy

Our Women out Front + workshops are an extension of the highly successful Women Out Front series, where our members come together to share their professional skills, expertise and passions.

Facilitated by YWCA Canberra member Clare Conroy (Sticky Note Consulting), this design thinking crash course introduced participants to the full design cycle in a hands-on, fast-paced 2-hour workshop.

The design thinking workshop was highly commended and received positive feedback. We look forward to collaborating with members and to continue to host WOF+ Workshops.

She Leads Conference – learning, collaboration and leadership

On Tuesday 13 May more than170 women converged on Hotel Realm for the inaugural She Leads Conference.

The Conference complemented the YWCA of Canberra’s She Leads Diploma of Management program, and pulled together a diverse and inspiring line-up of women leaders from numerous industries to empower and motivate delegates.

The morning kicked off with a warm welcome from YWCA of Canberra President Jane Alver, and a welcome to country by Aunty Agnes Shea. The room was filled with eager anticipation as Keynote Speaker, Dr Anne Summers took the stage. Summers spoke with gusto and vision on the topic ‘What women should…’, outlining some of the key challenges she sees when it comes to women participating equally in leadership positions, as well as the actions she believes women should take to start combating this inequality.

With the conference delegates then passionately keen to see the current situation for women leaders change, the first panel session kicked off – ‘She Leads: personal reflections on leadership’. Panelists Khadija Gbla, Lauren Anderson, Casey Keed and Virginia Haussegger shared their own leadership journeys with the audience, as well as some key advice they had.

Haussegger made the important point that we ‘have to be in it to change it’, when it comes to the leadership environment. Gbla added to this with her own advice – to play the game, but to play it with integrity. Anderson and Keed both encouraged delegates to be aware of their own capacities when taking on new challenges and opportunities. As Keed put it, it’s about being aware of ‘when saying yes to someone else means saying no to yourself’.

Following the panel and after a delicious morning tea, delegates got stuck into their first workshop session. The workshops were rotated throughout the day, facilitated by three leading women experts: Suzi Skinner, Managing Director of Roar People,  took delegates through ‘What’s your leadership ID?’; Dianne van Meegen, Principal of Directions for Change, delivered her workshop on ‘Personal effectiveness techniques’; and Julie McKay, Executive Director at UN Women, engaged delegates in a workshop on ‘Communication and leadership’.

The workshop sessions buzzed with engaging conversations between delegates, and saw women sharing their insights and experiences in the safe space of the Conference.

A second panel discussion titled ‘From Statistics to Solutions: overcoming our biggest leadership challenges’ featured an in depth and engaging discussion between Dr Caroline Lambert, Executive Officer of YWCA Australia; CEO of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yolanda Vega; Helen Conway, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency; and Deputy Secretary People Strategies and Policy in the Department of Defence, Carmel McGregor. The panelists unpacked the key issues affecting women’s participation in leadership positions in Australia, and explored the actions needed to overcome these barriers.

By the time the She Leads Conference was drawing to a close that afternoon, with MC Susan Brennan providing a thoughtful summary of the day’s key takeaways, a strong sense of excitement and empowerment resonated throughout the group. She Leads was an important day of sharing and learning between women who brought with them a diverse range of experiences and skills, leaving delegates with renewed energy, new ideas, and a sharpened focus to take the next step in their own leadership journeys.

Exploring women’s leadership and innovative ideas at the 2014 Round the World Breakfast

It was a crisp Autumn morning on Tuesday 29 April when YWCA of Canberra  members, supporters and distinguished guests converged on The Lobby restaurant to celebrate World YWCA Day with the Round the World Breakfast.

Guests were treated to a delicious breakfast, while listening to a moving and inspiring speech from the ACT Chief Minister, The Hon. Katy Gallagher MLA about her personal leadership journey. They also had the chance to win some wonderful prizes and participate in an exciting silent auction during breakfast, before YWCA of Canberra President, Jane Alver, announced the 2014 recipients of the Great Ydeas Grants.

The Great Ydeas Small Grants Program supports women from Canberra and the surrounding regions to achieve their full potential, and enhance their contribution to themselves, their families and their community.

A big congratulations to Hannah McCann, HannahWandel, Caterina Giorgi, Caitlin Sandercock, and
Heidi Zajac for being awarded with Great Ydeas grants this year.

Caterina Giorgi, People for Purpose

People for Purpose (P4P) is a pilot project that will develop and implement tailored professional development training to support women working in the ACT not-for-profit sector, such as advocacy campaign design, strategic communications, and project management. The project will include a ‘Getting to Know the Sector’ training course, featuring presentations from established Sector workers and leaders. Upon completion, participants will become members of the P4P Ideas Network, a sounding board and support system to assist in professional ideas development and problem solving.

Hannah McCann, attendance at the Femme Conference 2014

The Femme Conference is held bi-annually in the United States and seeks to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity, and provide a space for organising and activism within Queer communities. After attending the Conference, Hannah will present her PhD research on queer femme identity.

Caitlin Sandercock, Development and Aid Workers Network

The Development and Aid Workers Network (DAWN) is an online knowledge hub for volunteer and professional aid and development workers. The project aims to enhance DAWN by developing a suite of new resources for aid workers, recruiting volunteers to provide advice on key topics, and advocating for accreditation by country embassies.

Hannah Wandel, Country to Canberra

Country to Canberra gives passionate rural girls the opportunity visit Canberra, Australia’s heart of decision-making, to motivate leadership potential. It aims to combat unique barriers faced by regional and remote students, and strengthen links between them and Australia’s political epicentre. The project will run an essay competition for Year 11 students, with the winner travelling to Canberra to attend a breakfast with four powerful female community leaders, and participate in tours of Parliament House and the National Gallery.

Heidi Zajac, Cooking Circles

The Cooking Circles project will leverage digital communication and social media to connect Australian and Timorese young women to share cooking processes and recipes, stories, and build friendships. Each Cooking Circles event will be recorded using video, stills photography and blogging technology, and shared via social media. The project will provide participants with an opportunity to learn about community development, gender equality and strengths-based work.

Hannah McCann, Femme Hive Conference

The Femme Hive Conference 2014 in Berlin, Germany. This is a newly arranged community venture and seeks to explore the identity “femme”. The conference organisers describe Femme Hive as an exploration of: the complexity and queerness of femme; the freakish and non-heteronormative nature of femme; the queering of femininity/the feminine; the concept of femme feminism; varying cultural interpretations and relationships to queer feminine; the currency (and place) of femme/the feminine in queer spaces; femme sexuality/desire; the fear of the feminine/femme-inine. This year the conference runs from 10-12 October, and Hannah has proposed to the organisers that she present her PhD research on queer femme identity and the resistant possibilities of femme at the conference.

We’d like to thank our members and friends who generously donated prizes for the silent auction and prize draw: The Brumbies, YWCA of Canberra Treasurer Betty Ferguson, Bing Lee, Endota Spa, Simplicity Retreats, Crossfit Smash, Body to Burn, Margaret Allebone, Angela Koch, Beth Cox, Leani Viljoen, and Jac Torres-Gomez.

We’d also like to acknowledge our wonderful corporate and community friendswho purchased tables at the event this year: Westpac, UN Women, Griffin Legal, JBWere, andNAB.

We’re pleased to announce that we raised $1,835 for the YWCA Global Power to Change fund, which will help YWCAs in developing countries run leadership programs for young women.

If your organisation would like to pre-book a table for next year’s event, please contact

Celebrating Food Revolution Day 2014

On Friday 16 May, the Lanyon Youth and Community Centre hosted the inaugural Lanyon Food Fair as part of the global ‘Food Revolution Day’ movement.

The Food Fair included heaps of exciting (and delicious!) activities for the community, including the launch of the Lanyon Community Garden, food activities for visiting children from our day care centres, and a great ukulele concert from the Senior Ukelele Orchestra!

Year 9 and 10 students from Lanyon High School got their hands dirty digging garden beds and building the new garden shed generously donated by Bunnings Tuggeranong.

Executive Director, Frances Crimmins officially opened the Community Garden with the planting of a lemon tree, with Director of Community Services and gardening-guru Fiona MacGregor’s help.

As Food Revolution Ambassador, Ellyn Bicknell said, ‘The Food Fair and Food Revolution Day are about making change in the community, about connecting people and raising awareness of just cooking and eating. It’s also about giving kids the opportunity to try new things.’

And from what you can see in these great pictures, the kids loved exploring new foods and getting stuck into some gardening!

If you’d like to find out more about the Lanyon Community Garden, and volunteering opportunities please contact

Connecting with students at the ANU Market Day

On Wednesday 12 February the YWCA of Canberra joined hundreds of not-for-profit organisations, community groups and student-led initiatives to participate in ANU’s annual Market Day. Held during O-Week, Market Day provides students with the opportunity to get a taste of uni life outside the classroom, connect with local businesses, and make some new friends. This year we gave all new YWCA of Canberra members a chance to enter the draw to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3! The lucky prize winner has chosen to remain anonymous, and we wish them all the best in their studies this year. A big shout out to all our new members, we look forward to seeing you at our future events and activities around town!

International Women’s Day 2014 – Rights Talk

The Australian Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the YWCA, hosted a special International Women’s Day event; Rights Talk.

The event was launched by Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, with introductions by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell and the Hon. Anna Bligh, CEO of YWCA NSW.

The panel explored the challenges, issues and inspirations of young women today as they negotiate equality in leadership, financial independence and career opportunities.

One of the key panellists Ella Cuthbert, a year six student from Majura Public School spoke about what gender equality means to her and why she likes being a girl. Ella also addressed what it means to be a young leader as she was recently elected as the Sports Captain of her school house. Ella participated in YWCA Canberra’s ‘Respect, Communicate, Choose’ respectful relationships program for young girls and the YWCA Every Girl Program. The YWCA of Canberra would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Ella on her wonderful speech.

The YWCA Canberra Members’ Forum: Reflections from across the globe

The YWCA of Canberra’s Members’ Forum was held on Monday 25 November 2013. The event provided an opportunity for our members to hear about the experiences of our staff, board directors, and members who have participated in our international policy, advocacy, and communication initiatives.

The first of what we hope to become a regular event, the Forum featured short talks and reflections from a group of inspiring young women.

Melissa Burford shared the story of her Great Ydeas project, Freedom Marketplace, in which she collaborated with fellow YWCA of Canberra member Diane Diane Kambanei to develop an online store supporting female artisans in Papua New Guinea.

Laura Pound talked about her volunteer work at the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia, working with staff to evaluate programs on HIV/AIDS prevention, support and treatment; and building good health governance in rural Cambodia.

Alison Barclay also provided an insight into her work in Cambodia, where she assisted and empowered survivors of gender based violence during the Khmer Rouge Regime to access justice through the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

In a video message, former Great Ydeas recipient, Jac Torres-Gomez provided an update on her  Purse Pad Project in Papua New Guinea, and spoke about the subsequent campaign that grew from this work, the Crimson Movement. She also shared some exciting news about her new children’s book, which is due be published early next year.

Mura Lanyon Youth & Community Centre celebrates NAIDOC WEEK 2013

This event was in partnership with the ACT Community Services Directorate Tuggeranong Child and Family Centre, The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre and Burrunju  Aboriginal Corporation.

YWCA of Canberra’s Mura Lanyon Youth & Community Centre helped celebrate this years NAIDOC WEEK through numerous activities at the centre which included Traditional basket weaving, traditional children’s activities, live entertainment, BBQ and afternoon tea.

An art exhibition was held in the foyer of the Lanyon Community Centre. These works of art were painted by local identity Dale Huddleston and was kindly donated by The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture Centre. Numerous paintings included titles such as My country, Kangaroo Emu, Turtle gathering, ibis snake, crocodile, Gathering of communities and snake

Renowned local basket weaver Jenny Dries provided staff and friends with the opportunity to experience traditional coil basket weaving workshops. Participants were engaged and learn new skills in the art/craft of wearing and the use of different knotting styles.