Celebrating 20 Years Empowering Leaders and Championing Equity

Since 2004 Women & Leadership Australia has been championing equity and empowering leaders in every aspect of life. Read more about our impact.
Symposium attendees
Women & Leadership Australia
2 mins

Women & Leadership Australia celebrating 20 years of impact

For 20 years, Women & Leadership Australia has been championing equity and empowering leaders in every aspect of life.

Women & Leadership Australia CEO, Karen Taylor, said the milestone offers a chance to reflect on two decades of progress towards gender equity in leadership.

“Women & Leadership Australia came into being in 2004, before Australia had elected its first female prime minister, before a woman had been appointed to the role of Governor General of Australia, and well before the first Indigenous woman was elected to the House of Representatives,” Ms Taylor said.

“Over the last two decades, we have seen some significant milestones in women’s leadership. And we’re proud of the impact we’ve made, as a small part of this change.”

Download our WLA Timeline of Impact

Download our timeline to discover key milestones from the past 20 years.

In 2004 we ran our first women’s leadership event, with 60 participants gathering in the regional town of Wodonga, Victoria.

Since then, we’ve continued to deliver leadership events and programs to support leaders at all levels, right around Australia and beyond. We’ve worked with hundreds of organisations across all industries and sectors, and we’ve advocated for equity and inclusion in business and community leadership.

Highlights from our first 20 years

Delivering 25,000 hours of learning content to 38,000 participants

WLA program participants

Since 2004, we have supported more than 38,000 participants through our leadership and wellbeing programs.

We have facilitated over 25,000 hours of content – that’s almost eight and a half years of continuous learning.

And we’ve delivered more than 13,000 hours of leadership coaching.

Graduates of our programs have told us they have increased their confidence, skills and many have gone on to step up into more senior leadership positions.

Welcoming 30,000 attendees to our events

Brisbane Symposium Event Room

Each year we deliver leadership events, including the renowned Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium series.

We’ve welcomed almost 30,000 attendees at our events across the country and online.

Our events have provided a platform for more than 2000 speakers, and we’ve facilitated close to 200 hours of panel discussions.

Recognising Leaders with our Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership

Julia Gillard at The Australian Women's Leadership Symposium

In 2014 we launched the prestigious Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership to celebrate and recognise outstanding women and gender-diverse leaders at state and national level.

Over the years, we have received close to 1000 award nominations for people who are improving leadership opportunities and gender equity outcomes for underrepresented communities.

In 2024 we will present our 100th Australian Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership.

Looking ahead

For 20 years we’ve been part of the journey towards equality – we’ve seen how far workplaces have come, what works, and what still needs to be done. We’ve developed deep expertise and insights, and we know that to achieve meaningful change, we must all advance together.

As Australia moves ahead on its path towards gender equity, Women & Leadership Australia is as committed as ever to providing the training, resources, connections and thought leadership to support individuals and organisations on this journey.

Find out more about our story and our people www.wla.edu.au/about/