Sneha Girap (Editor)

Wendy McCarthy

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Preceded by

Succeeded by
Alma mater
University of Sydney


Wendy McCarthy

Gordon McCarthy


Wendy McCarthy wwwwiredforwondercomwpcontentuploads201504

Full Name
Wendy Elizabeth Ryan

22 July 1941 (age 82) Orange, New South Wales (

The Women's College, University of Sydney

Sex Education and the Intellectually Handicapped, A Fair Go

Wendy mccarthy reflects on hazel hawke s life and passing

Wendy Elizabeth McCarthy, AO, (born 22 July 1941 in Orange, New South Wales) is an experienced businesswomen, manager and executive.


Wendy McCarthy Wendy McCarthy AO a witty and engaging business woman Saxton

Wendy mccarthy officially launching save 1 million women save summit


Wendy began her professional life as a secondary school teacher and since then she has remained committed to shifting the concept and reality of being female in Australia, and globally. For five decades Wendy has worked for reform across the public, private and community sectors, in education, family planning, human rights, public health, and overseas aid and development, as well as in conservation, heritage, and media.

Her first experience as an activist came about in 1968 when, newly pregnant, she and her husband joined the Childbirth Education Association in Sydney, campaigning for, amongst other issues, the rights of fathers (men) to be present at the birth of their children.

In 1972 she established the NSW branch of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, before taking on the role of Education, Information and Media Officer with Family Planning Association of NSW in 1975, and eventually that of CEO of the Australian Federation of Family Planning Associations.

Her leadership in these issues was quickly recognised with her appointment to the National Women's Advisory Council in 1978, a new office that was to advise the then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser on policy issues effecting women.

From here Wendy’s career as a trailblazing leader for women accelerated as she led the Australian Broadcasting Corporation through period of significant reform and change as Deputy Chair (1983-1991), while also working as General Manager Communications with the Australian Bicentennial Authority (1985-1989).

In the education sector, she was the first woman appointed to the NSW Higher Education Board and also served on the NSW Education Commission. She was a founding member of Chief Executive Women, an organisation established to mentor and support female executives, and its president for 1995-96. In 1995 she was appointed to the Economic Planning Advisory Commission’s four member Task Force report to Prime Minister on Australia's child care needs to 2010. In 2005 she completed a decade as Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Her leadership in the public and women’s health sectors continued with her role as chair of the National Better Health for All and associated National Better Health Program Management Committee (1989 – 1992). A decade later she was a member NSW Health Care Advisory Council, chair NSW Health Participation Council, and co-chair of the NSW Sustainable Access Health Priority Taskforce. She was also a member of the Royal College of Physicians Research and Education Foundation (1991-1994), President of the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation (1995-1998) and patron of the Australian Reproductive Health Alliance (2007-2011). Most recently served as chair of the Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2007-2015).

International appointments have included four years as Chair of the Advisory Committee at the World Health Organisation Kobe Centre (1999-2002), and 12 years as Chair of Plan Australia (1998-2009), with three years as Global Deputy Chair with Plan International (2007-2009).

Other significant appointments include CEO National Trust of Australia NSW (1990-1993) and also as Chair of the Australian Heritage Commission (1995 – 1998).

Her advocacy and leadership have been continuously recognised. In 1989, Wendy was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for outstanding contributions to community affairs, women’s affairs and the Bicentennial celebrations. In 1996 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia and in 2003 she was awarded a Centenary of Federation medal for business leadership. In 2005 she was nominated by the Sydney Morning Herald as one of Australia’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals and in 2011 she was featured in the International Women’s Day publication The Power of One which profiled 100 women who have shaped Australia. In 2013 she was inducted into the Women’s Agenda Hall of Fame for her contribution to the lives of Australian women.

Wendy currently chairs Circus Oz, Australia’s leading circus and is Deputy-Chair of Goodstart Early Learning, Australia’s largest early learning provider. She is also a Non-executive Director of IMF Bentham, the world’s most experienced and successful litigation funder. She is a Patron of the Sydney Women’s Fund, Ambassador for 1 Million Women and Advisor to Grace Papers. She has just stepped down after eight years as Chair of headspace – the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

She has also established several businesses, including her national consulting practice McCarthy Mentoring which specialises in providing mentors to major corporations, the public sector and not for profit organisations. Her daughter Sophie McCarthy took over the business in 2012, and Wendy has continued on in the role of founder and mentor.

She is an experienced speaker and facilitator, and is regularly asked for comment on social and political issues. She also enjoys writing and is the author of seven books, including her memoir Don’t Fence Me In published by Random House in 2000.


Wendy McCarthy Wikipedia

Similar Topics