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Eve Mahlab AO

Eve Mahlab's roles as a businesswoman, feminist, wife and mum led to her being the first woman on several government, business and community boards.

Honour Roll

Eve Mahlab came to Australia in 1939 as a refugee from Nazism. She was educated in Melbourne and trained as a lawyer, practicing in Family Law for some years before starting a business.

She joined the Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) in 1973 prior to the Victorian State elections and designed and chaired the WEL Forum, 'Why should women vote for you?' held in the Dallas Brooks Hall and attended by 2000 women. This was the first time that the leaders of all the major political parties had appeared on the same platform, and were required to be accountable to women. This process raised an agenda of State related women's issues such as health, access to abortion, childcare and education.

As leader of the project, Eve facilitated the sale of the television rights to the Forum to Channel Seven. The proceeds of the sale funded WEL for several years.

Over the next five years Eve was an articulate advocate for the advancement of women. She travelled widely and wrote articles, letters and speeches about workplace conditions, women's portrayal in the media and advertising, women in corporate life, small business issues facing women, family law, and access to finance. In 1979, she was elected by Victorian women to represent their interests in Canberra in developing an Australian Plan of Action for International Women's Year.

Following that she went to Copenhagen as one of WEL's representatives for the International Decade of Women United Nations Forum. After practising law, Eve founded and built the Mahlab Group of Companies and was involved in various other business activities. She was named Australian Business Woman of the Year in 1982. The presentation was attended by the Prime Minister and various captains of industry and her acceptance speech was about the need for work-related child care. This led directly to the establishment by Esso/LendLease of the first work-based childcare centre in New South Wales.

In 1988 she was honoured with an AO for services to government, business and the community - particularly women. In 1992, she was the executive producer and financier of a film on women called 'Not a Bedroom War.' The film was televised in Australia on SBS.

Today Eve is a partner in MindMatch International. She is on the Boards of the Westpac Banking Corporation, the Triton Foundation, the Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Research Institute, Film Australia and several charitable organisations. She continues to work for the recognition and value of women in all aspects of life.