9 March 2024

Community builder Jo Farrell is the ACT's Woman of the Year for 2024

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Jo Farrell is the 2024 ACT Woman of the Year. Photo: Professional Headshots Canberra.

Canberra’s 2024 citizen of the year, Jo Farrell, has also been announced as the ACT’s woman of the year, recognised for her passionate advocacy for women in the workplace and particularly in the construction sector.

The announcement was made at a ceremony held on the eve of International Women’s Day at the Belconnen Arts Centre.

Jo is a carpenter, builder and General Manager of construction company, Kane ACT and founded the not-for-profit organisation, Build Like A Girl Australia, encouraging and support girls and women find rewarding careers in the trades.

Last year, she was a driving force in building the Strathnairn Charity House. The four-bedroom house was designed, predominantly built, marketed and auctioned by women and proceeds went to Hands Across Canberra, Karinya House, Pegasus Riding for the Disabled and Canberra City Care at Charnwood.

The Ginninderry Joint Venture and Master Builders ACT collaborated on the design and construction of the charity house while the build was led by Kane Constructions. More than 60 subcontractors and trade suppliers donated time and materials to deliver the home.

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As the general manager of Kane Constructions ACT, part of the multimillion-dollar Kane Group, Jo has also pushed for a better gender balance in the company, and in less than two years, managed to drive female participation up to almost half.

Kane Constructions ACT went from having just six per cent female staff in February 2020 to a 48 per cent female team in December 2022. Jo also works closely with government, peak industry bodies, unions, training organisations and building contractors to help them recruit, train and employ women in trade roles.

“I’m really honoured to be nominated and to be recognised for the work,” Jo said. “I just turn up every day and try and promote the industry for other women to work in and try and change that.

“Build Like A Girl works with various government and private organisations, employers, peak industry bodies, to create programs, whether their pathway programs or other types of programs to encourage more women of all backgrounds and ages to start a trade, an apprentice role, or a semi-skilled role in the construction industry.”

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Mijica Lus is the ACT Young Woman of the Year and Glenda Stevens is the ACT Senior Woman of the Year.

Mijica dedicates her time and effort to supporting multicultural communities and working in areas of education, media, health care and human services.

She currently leads the Aurosokwo Project which works with local charities and organisations in a range of activities from creating care packs, book drives, and medical outreach.

Glenda Stevens is a highly experienced community leader whose work history includes Chair of the ACT Council of Social Services and a former Air Force Air Traffic Controller.

She is the founding CEO of Fearless Women and works with several community organisations that focus on empowering girls and women.

Minister for Women Yvette Berry said: “Congratulations to all the nominees, finalists and winners of the 2024 ACT Women’s Awards.

“These women have all worked tirelessly to improve the status and lives of girls and women in the ACT.

“I’d also like to acknowledge and thank all the women who work in our community – often with little recognition, to make a difference and improve the lives of girls and women in the ACT.”

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Capital Retro11:15 am 09 Mar 24

And who is the ACT’s Man of the Year?

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