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Cecile Storey OAM

Cecile was a committed feminist and worked throughout her life to improve the rights of women, particularly through her work with the United Nations.

Honour Roll

Born in Ballarat in 1933, Cecile went to school at Methodist Ladies College (MLC) in Melbourne and then went on to complete a commerce degree at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1955. After her marriage in 1958 and the birth of her three children, she began teaching part-time in 1968 and then full-time in 1973. As a teacher, Cecile was regarded as an outstanding and innovative educator. She did a lot of work in curriculum development and designed social science subjects for the Higher School Certificate in Victoria.

Her awareness of the challenges faced by women as part-time teachers led to her involvement with the Victorian Association of Teachers in Independent Schools, becoming president in 1981-82. Cecile was a member of the Premier's Committee on Equal Opportunity in Schools (1975-77) and the National Committee on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation (1975-1982) From 1981- 83 she served as president of the Council of the Family Planning Association in Victoria. For 12 years from 1976, she was a member of the La Trobe University Council and was Deputy Chancellor from 1981-85. Cecile was an active member of the UN Association in Australia and was Australian president from 1979-1983. She represented Australia as a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) delegation at the UN Women's Conferences in Mexico (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995).

She is widely regarded as having played a significant role in persuading the State Government at the time to introduce the Equal Opportunity Act in 1977. In 1984, Cecile's work in international affairs and education was recognised with the award of OAM. She died in 1997.

Her commitment to human rights education, especially with young people, was recognised with the establishment of the annual Cecile Storey Award by the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) for outstanding women delegates at the UNYA Annual Conference.

As a teacher, feminist and internationalist, Cecile Storey was always ahead of her time, challenging orthodoxy and complacency. She knew the dilemmas of balancing work and family and she gladly acknowledged the role played by women who support other women. This made her a memorable force in the organisations in which she chose to be involved.