The Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Awards celebrate and highlight the accomplishments of some of Australia's fiercest, most determined, and talented women.
Currently, Aussies nationwide are being asked to choose one remarkable Australian woman from each of the nine award categories, which include humanitarian, entrepreneur, sportswomen, and game changer of the year.
Among the nominees are brain cancer crusader Bec Lucas, Australian Red Cross response manager Jessica Lees, former refugee and entrepreneur Prudence Melom, domestic violence survivor Mel Thomas, sexual abuse activist Saxon Mullins, and surgeon, author, and advocate Nikki Stamp.
“We recognise the achievements of women across Australia, who have dedicated themselves to inspiring and empowering all women to break down barriers and follow their passion,” Cosmopolitan editor Keshnee Kemp stated. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all of our nominees in doing what they love with the utmost integrity and success.”
I’m a finalist in the 2018 Cosmopolitan Women of the year Awards.— Prudence Melom (@Prudencemelom) August 9, 2018
click the link bellow & vote now for me to take home the Humanitarian of the year award!!
Share with your friends and family and get th votes in! https://t.co/O4kX06wd9f
Three athletics from the Commonwealth Games Australia were also nominated. Named in the humanitarian category is Love Mercy Foundation founder and Olympian Eloise Wellings, whose charity uplifts communities in Northern Uganda by providing rural citizens with access to health care, education, and income support.
Madison De Rozario and Ellia Green are nominated within the sportswomen category for their accomplishments and contribution to the Paralympic games and rugby respectively.
@Elzywellings has been nominated in the @Cosmopolitan Women of the Year awards for "Humanitarian of the Year". Let's get behind this amazing woman! Link to vote 👉 https://t.co/be90qlVw12pic.twitter.com/SRMpGi7Ye5— Athletics NSW (@NSWAthletics) August 10, 2018
Last year's 'Game Changer of the Year' was Paralympian, author, and motivational speaker Jessica Smith. Smith created the internationally award winning ‘Join the Revolution’ social media campaign to educate young girls about body positivity, after she experienced eating disorders during her time representing Australia in swimming at the Paralympic Games.
"Thank you to Cosmopolitan for creating such a great platform for women to be recognised and congratulated for the work they're doing within the community,” she announced during the award ceremony. “Awards such as this just ignite my determination even more. I want people to understand that diversity and acceptance will always be my driving force to create positive change.”
The Women of the Year Awards were originally started in an attempt to help shift gender norms that had long dictated what women could and couldn't do. Now in it’s 12th year, the awards have made waves in promoting women's representation by placing the accomplishments of hundreds of women on a pedestal.
Australia, however, still has a long way to go to achieve total gender equality and equal representation.
Over 55% of girls between the ages of 11 and 21 stated they do not have enough female role models to look up to, according to a 2018 survey by Girl Guides. Seven out of 10 girls similarly feel they fail to meet societal expectations when it comes to how they look and act.
For young girls, it is considerably easier to dream big if they can see women who have walked incredible paths before them. Alongside the Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Awards, Australia needs more initiatives and programs that uplift and highlight women and girls, so that girls (and boys) known that no matter their abilities, gender, or background, they have the power to make incredible change in the world.