New Women’s Taskforce Launched in Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn

Left to right: Liam & Nella Walsh-Smith, children of Katie Walsh-Smith. Andrea Dean, Jan Baker, Monica Phelan, Lara Kirk, Maria de Fatima Vieira, Genevieve Colbert, Selina Stanford and Beth Doherty

Media Release, 25 November, 2019

A group of women from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn will work together on a newly-formed taskforce to support and promote women in the local Catholic Church.

In dialogue with Archbishop Christopher Prowse and with the assistance of the National Office for the Participation of Women, consultations took place during 2018 and 2019.

Several hundred women attended consultation days and brainstorming sessions, modelling a synodal process.

The elected steering group will continue to meet quarterly going forward and represents a broad cross section of the Archdiocese and a wide range of experience.

The group met for the second time on the 23rd November to clarify their vision, tasks and roles.  

Deputy Chair of the group, Genevieve Colbert from Yass, pointed out that this year, the Church in Australia will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus report. It is the largest research report undertaken by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to date.

“This report showed how crucial and life-giving the full inclusion of women is in the Church” Genevieve said.

Selina Stanford from Queanbeyan is Secretary to the Taskforce and is positive about the contribution this group can make. “We look forward to enriching the faith life of the Archdiocese through highlighting the indispensable contribution of women and actively working to remedy gaps in women’s inclusion. We hope to do this through networking, events and an active digital presence.”

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Chair, Lara Kirk from Murrumbateman, said she was looking forward to working with such a diverse and energetic group of women. “There is a wealth of talent and vision in the group” she said. “I’m just focused on keeping us on task and moving forward”.

For more information, please contact Beth Doherty, 0432 608 310,

Membership of the group includes:

Lara Kirk (Chair)
Genevieve Colbert (Deputy chair)
Selina Stanford (Secretary)
Beth Doherty (Communications)
Maria de Fatima Vieira
Alison Weeks
Catherine Conroy
Jan Baker
Katie Walsh-Smith
Monica Phelan
Andrea Dean and Clare Condon SGS (Ex-officio consultants)


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