Elizabeth Broderick

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Elizabeth Broderick on the left (2013) Elizabeth Broderick in May 2013.jpg
Elizabeth Broderick on the left (2013)

Elizabeth Broderick AO is an Australian lawyer, who was the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner for over eight years from 2007 to 2015 [1] and has a United Nations special rapporteur for Discrimination against Women and Girls since 2017. She is a former partner and head of legal technology at Ashurst Australia (then called Blake Dawson Waldron), a global commercial law firm. [2]


Early life

Broderick grew up in Caringbah, New South Wales as the daughter of a doctor and physiotherapist, Frank and Margot. She has two sisters including an identical twin, Jane Latimer. [3] She was Head Girl in 1978 at Meriden School, Strathfield. [2]


Broderick is trained as a lawyer. She has spoken publicly about her own experiences of sexual harassment by a client as a young lawyer. [4]

At law firm Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst), Broderick worked part-time for twelve years while she was a partner - the first partner at the firm to work part-time. [5] She also created a database giving people legal advice at low cost. Broderick was named "Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year" (2000–2001). [2]

Sex Discrimination Commissioner

Broderick was appointed Sex Discrimination Commissioner by Prime Minister John Howard in 2007. Her term was extended by the Rudd government and again by the Abbott government. [3] As Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Broderick worked on equal-pay cases, "proposed a model for the paid parental leave scheme", and commented publicly on sexual harassment cases. [2]

Broderick persuaded some of "the most powerful men in the country" to publicly commit to being part of a group called Male Champions of Change (MCC) and take action on gender inequality. [4] The group is still active and has inspired the creation of many MCC groups in other sectors, including architecture, [6] property, [7] elite sports [8] and in Victoria. [9] Current members of the Founding MCC group include, Alan Joyce, Kevin McCann, Martin Parkinson, David Thodey and Lieutenant General David Morrison. [10]

The Male Champions of Change have released progress reports in 2011, [11] 2013 [12] and 2014. [13] They also partnered with Chief Executive Women to develop a model for leaders to use in order to examine their own actions and 'Leadership Shadow'. [14]

In 2014, Broderick published a fourth and final report on gender-discriminatory practices in the Australian Defence Force. [15]

Broderick finished up as Sex Discrimination Commissioner in 2015 and was succeeded by Kate Jenkins. [3] [16]

United Nations Rapporteur

Broderick established her own consultancy specialising in gender equality and was then appointed by the United Nations as a Special Rapporteur for the Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls in 2017. [3] She works alongside four other female experts to report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on discrimination against women around the world. [3]

In 2018, Broderick launched Male Champions of Change globally. [3]


Broderick won in the Diversity category as well as recognized as the overall winner in the 2014 Women of Influence award. [17] She was also an Impact 25 winner in 2015. [18] On November, 2015, the University of New South Wales-Sydney conferred upon her an honorary degree honorary Doctorate of Laws for her "eminent service to both the Australian and international community”. [19]

In 2016, she was awarded the New South Wales Australian of the Year for her being a "powerful and influential voice in the struggle for gender equality enlisting both women and men as agents of change." [20] She received the Australian Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership from the Women & Leadership Australia on the same year, [21] and won the 2016 Hall of Fame during the Women's Agenda Leadership Awards. [22]

Broderick was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017. [23]

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  2. 1 2 3 4 Keenan, Catherine (4 March 2011). "Meet Elizabeth Broderick, the woman who can walk into any boardroom and strike a deal". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Maley, Jacqueline (9 February 2019). "How Elizabeth Broderick is taking soft-power feminism to the world". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  4. 1 2 "Frankly Speaking With Elizabeth Broderick". Marie Claire. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
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  14. "It starts with us - The Leadership Shadow | Australian Human Rights Commission". www.humanrights.gov.au. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  15. Snow, Deborah (26 March 2014). "'Significant progress' but Elizabeth Broderick warns of backlash in Defence over boosting women in the ranks". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  16. Donaldson, David (14 April 2016). "Kate Jenkins: turning co-operation into impact for women". The Mandarin. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  17. Stewart, Claire (22 October 2014). "Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick wins 2014 Women of Influence award". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  18. "Impact 25 2015 Winner | Elizabeth Broderick". impact25-probonoaust. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  19. z3081268 (10 November 2015). "Elizabeth Broderick awarded UNSW's highest honour". UNSW Newsroom. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  20. "Australian of the Year Awards". www.australianoftheyear.org.au. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  21. "The Australian Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership". www.wla.edu.au. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  22. "2016 Women's Agenda Leadership Awards" (PDF). Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  23. "Order honour for Elizabeth Broderick". SBS News. Retrieved 19 April 2019.