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Fleur Spitzer OAM

Fleur Spitzer has actively contributed to the community and worked to improve the lives of Australian women for decades.

Honour Roll

She was an early member of the Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) and worked for the establishment of the Women's Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE). Her vision and funding led to the establishment of the Alma Unit for Women & Ageing and her funding of an archive of well-known Melbourne activist Mary Owen's papers led to the Australian Women's Archives project.

In 1972 Beatrice Faust invited 10 women to discuss the forthcoming Federal election and to conduct a survey of election candidates on issues of special interest to women. This meeting was the embryonic Women's Electoral Lobby of which Fleur was an early member (1974).

In 1984, she helped to form the Women's Information group in recognition that women had many questions concerning major life choices, their basic human rights and were seeking complex support and information to help find solutions. This later became WIRE, which has evolved into a comprehensive information, support and referral service for Victorian women.

In the early 1990s Fleur identified the importance of addressing the non-medical needs of our ageing female population and personally provided seven-years of funding to establish the Alma Unit in 1993. This unique multi-disciplinary academic research and teaching centre focuses on the wellbeing of older women and has been pivotal - including internationally - in recognising gender issues in ageing. In 1996, Fleur was recognised for innovative and invaluable work for the well-being of older women when she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

She has taken her passion for improving the lives of older women and older people further into the philanthropic world and acted as a guide for other benefactors, educating them about the important role that their financial contribution can play in developing research, teaching, knowledge and social justice. For more than 30 years, Fleur Spitzer has established and participated in organisations that address issues of inequality and provide services that are appropriate and responsive to the needs of all Victorian women.

Without her support, both financial and intellectual, broad understanding of the key factors impacting on the wellbeing of Victorian and Australian older women and men would have remained largely ignored. "I am fortunate to be able to 'go public' about my efforts for social justice," says Fleur. "It is an uncomfortable position, but the rewards are satisfying."