Chief Executive Officer – Frances Crimmins

Frances Crimmins is the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canberra. Frances has a passion to see women achieve their potential and shape their communities. Having started her career in hotel management she soon developed strong leadership and management skills which saw her take on senior human resources roles in the health sector. Frances’ natural drive and pursuit of excellence resulted in her former employer gaining accreditation as an Employer of Choice for Women, and ACT Employer of the Year for Apprenticeships & Traineeships. 

Frances was drawn to YWCA Canberra in 2010 as she had always identified as a feminist, and has a strong belief in social justice, which she attributes to her mother’s influence. Having faced discrimination during her own career journey, she is now committed to being a strong voice for women. 

Frances has been the CEO of YWCA Canberra since 2013. She has led YWCA Canberra through a significant change process in integrated services delivery, corporate service review and evaluation frameworks. In response to identified community need, including during the COVID-19 crisis, Frances has spearheaded a range of new programs in the areas of addressing domestic and family violence and women’s homelessness, as well as empowering women to take authentic leadership journeys. 

Frances is currently a Council Member for the ACT Work Safety Council as appointed by the Minister and the ACT Work Safety Commissioner. Frances also volunteers on a variety of boards and committees, including Homelessness Australia. Frances was formerly on the board of ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), is a former Board Director of WESNET, former Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women and former Co-Chair of Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT.  

In 2015, Frances received an Edna Ryan Award for advancing the status of women in the ACT. In 2016, Frances was named ACT Leader of the Year at the Australian Leadership Excellence Awards run by the Australian Institute of Leadership and Management. She also attended Commission for the Status of Women in New York in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  

In 2021 Frances was selected to participate in the inaugural Social Impact Leadership Australia (SILA) program, where she completed a 10-month program on leadership development and capacity building for CEOs of for-purpose organisations in Australia. 

All articles

  • 18 October 2021: Mental Health Month 2021 speech by Frances Crimmins

    During Mental Health Month 2021, YWCA Canberra CEO Frances Crimmins was invited to present a virtual speech to employees of ActewAGL on the topic of Mental health awareness. Good morning and welcome everyone. I’m Frances Crimmins, and I’m proud to be the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canberra. I would like to begin by acknowledging […]

  • 9 September 2021: Men are still making the final calls on women’s safety

    Article originally published in The Canberra Times on 8 September 2021 This week, as large parts of the country continue to battle coronavirus, decision-makers at all levels and across numerous sectors are turning their heads to another significant epidemic taking lives in Australia: violence against women. As politicians, service providers, policymakers and advocates attend the […]

  • 14 December 2020: YWCA Hong Kong Conference 2020 speech by Frances Crimmins

    On 4 December, our Hong Kong sister YWCA held an international conference to celebrate its 100th anniversary, under the theme Solidarity for a Better World. Keynote speakers included Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific, and Mira Rizeq, President of World YWCA. YWCA Canberra CEO Frances Crimmins was invited to […]

  • 2 December 2020: It’s time to step up to close the gap

    Last week, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency released the latest Gender Equality Scorecard, based on data from thousands of Australian employers covering over 4 million employees. Progress in closing the gender pay gap remains glacial, with a 0.7 per cent reduction from 20.8 per cent to 20.1 per cent and some marginal improvements in levels […]

  • 28 August 2020: Equal Pay Day 2020

    graphic design of male and female staff holding coins

    Sadly, we continue to have no progress in 2020, with figures showing that the national gender pay gap has not improved since last year and remains at 14 per cent for full-time employees, a difference of $253.60 each week. And I fear that the progress we have made over the last few decades has a […]

  • 17 April 2020: Women’s economic participation and the importance of Early Education after COVID-19

    COVID-19 has created unprecedented social and economic change. The broadscale closure of recreational activities and entertainment venues due to mandated social distancing regulations have transformed our social and economic lives to mere online operations. Some are fortunate enough to have retained their jobs and are working from home; many others no longer have a job, […]

  • 15 May 2019: What comes after #MyMum – Preventing homelessness amongst Australia’s older women

    You’d have to be a neophyte in the ways of social media and online news to have avoided the hashtag #MyMum over the last week. Sparked by a comments made by the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in relation to his late mother and the intellectual pursuits she delayed in order to singlehandedly raise her young family, #MyMum spontaneously galvanised users who paid tribute to their mothers and grandmothers who […]

  • 8 August 2018: Hidden women in the spotlight

    For one week every year, in the middle of the Australian winter, the issue of homelessness and housing stress features heavily in public conversation. National Homelessness Week runs from 6-13 August and this year’s theme is ‘Ending Homelessness Together’. It is typically a week of campaigning by community stakeholders and legislators to bring attention to […]

  • 7 December 2017: Frances Crimmins’ White Ribbon address on gender equality

    On Friday 24 November, YWCA Canberra Executive Director, Frances Crimmins addressed the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science White Ribbon Day morning tea. Each year White Ribbon Day coincides with the start of 16 Days of Activism for the elimination of gender-based violence on 25 November. Below is a transcript of Frances’ speech which includes […]

  • 7 November 2017: Building the case for change

    YWCA Canberra recently partnered with the Office for Women to deliver an inaugural Gender Equality Forum. Stemming from the mutual objective of reinvigorating efforts to progress gender equality, the event drew together leaders from ACT Government Directorates, the for purpose sector, and the private sector to make the case for change. The forum kicked off […]

  • 1 November 2017: Celebrating a terrific year at YWCA Canberra

    (First published in the YWCA Canberra 2016-17 Annual Report.) I’d like to start with an acknowledgment of our staff, Board Directors, members, corporate partners, and friends. It is only with your skill, dedication and support that this organisation continues to meet the needs of our diverse community. There have been many highlights this year and […]

  • 23 October 2017: Women’s interests are in the public interest: Why we need transparent gendered budget analysis and policy

    The ACT Government has called for pre-budget submissions to influence their budget allocations. You might recall in the last budget round, YWCA Canberra was alarmed by the lack of gendered analysis and funding allocated to the women’s plan. This time we will be calling for the ACT Government to fulfil its commitment to a Triple […]

  • 21 June 2017: Executive Director Frances Crimmins on the ACT Budget

    The ACT Government recently handed down the 2017-2018 budget, and we have undertaken an analysis of what the implications are for local women, girls, and their families. If you read the headlines, it’s clear what the Government has prioritised this year. It’s the tale of the ACT’s growing population, with an urgent need to meet […]

  • 1 November 2016: Advocating for a better Canberra, for all

    Over the past twelve months, YWCA Canberra has been focusing our advocacy efforts on ensuring that gender equality and social inclusion have been prioritized in the lead up to the ACT election. In March, we launched our election advocacy platform, Every woman, every child, every day, calling on the incoming ACT government to take action […]

  • 11 March 2016: Open letter to Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Women

    Frances Crimmins speaking

    This week, there was much discussion about domestic violence leave provisions for federal public servants.  We believe that specific domestic violence leave provisions are essential, and as the Australian Public Service is the largest employer in the ACT, this is an issue that we feel strongly about. Please see below an open letter on this issue to Senator […]

  • 24 November 2015: 16 days of Activism: Gender inequality at the root of violence against women

    This opinion editorial was published in The Canberra Times on 21 November 2015, to start the conversation about meaningful action to end violence against women as part of our participation in the global campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This year, we’ve heard a lot of public commentary on the shocking prevalence of violence against women in […]

  • 2 March 2015: Calling on all Australian employers to commit to gender equality

    She Leads Conference 2014 - plenary

    Despite literally decades of equal pay and anti-sex discrimination legislation, how do we still arrive, in 2015, at a widening gender pay gap? And a plateauing of women in leadership roles in the workforce? To put this into context, legislation that has been enacted in Australia over more than the past 50 years includes: • […]