Ms Penny Williams is a senior Australian career diplomat with more than 25 years experience. She has represented Australia overseas in Syria and Chile and was Australia’s High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2007-2010.
Until 2013, Ms Williams was Australia’s inaugural Global Ambassador for Women and Girls. In that role she was responsible for high level advocacy to promote Australian Government policies and activity regarding gender equality and the social, political and economic empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. She worked closely with other governments, international organisations and civil society to support measures that eradicate violence against, and trafficking of, women and girls; promote better educational and health outcomes; protect women and girls in conflict and promote the role of women in peacebuilding; eliminate discrimination; and enhance the participation of women in decision-making and leadership.
Ms Williams has a global network across government, international organisations and civil society, with particularly strong links in the Pacific. She has led Australian delegations to high level regional and international meetings. She was an observer to the Pacific Women Advisory Board. In recognition of her work as Ambassador, Ms Williams was awarded a Public Service Medal in January 2015 for outstanding public service.
She has an honours degree in Asian Studies from the Australian National University and speaks Indonesian.