Elise Stephenson – Women Deliver

Elise Stephenson

  • Age: 31
  •    |   She/her/hers


Country of Origin:

Country of Residence:

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I advocate for women's and minorities' inclusion in international affairs, diplomacy, national security, and space - because we need good ideas, and we need a lot of them. We cannot assume they will all come from the same place.

- Elise Stephenson


Elise Stephenson was born and raised in Australia. She is working toward a Doctor of Philosophy at Griffith University. As Director at Social Good Outpost, an Australian strategy and design agency that Elise co-founded with her sister, she curates major international events and public diplomacy programs, as well as works with social enterprises and purpose-led organizations to create designs, websites, and communications that make an impact. As a researcher at Griffith University, Elise works on projects across gender equality, public diplomacy, national security, entrepreneurship, and the Indo-Pacific region and teaches political leadership classes.

Additionally, she is an Australia Editor of the Australian-ASEAN Strategic Youth Partnership, Inclusive Brisbane board member, Representative on the Queensland State Government LGBTI+ Roundtable, Panelist for the National Council of Women of Queensland Bursaries and Grants, and member of the LGBTI Roundtable on Australian Aid in the Asia Pacific.

What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?

"I fundamentally disagree with who you are" were the first words I heard from another participant at the gender-based violence prevention workshop I attended in university. As a gay woman, it reminded me that even spaces dedicated to improving the lives of women are still affected by discrimination. I’ve sought to change that ever since.

Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.

I drove innovative youth-led, youth-focused diplomacy programs across Southeast Asia for the Australian Government's largest public diplomacy program, “Australia now.” The program I curated, the Youth Entrepreneurs & Leaders Speaker Series, worked directly with over 3,000 individuals across ASEAN in over 49 events in the span of just six months in 2019, and it is now being extended in 2020-21 as a major part of Australia's public diplomacy efforts in the region.

Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?

I have traveled over 65,000 kilometres by road around Australia (that's one and a half time around the circumference of the earth) with my partner in a self-built tiny home. Every August, we work in the remote Western Desert of Australia, where we catch and train wild horses with local indigenous groups and share solutions to social and environmental issues in rural Australia.

Languages Spoken:

  • English (Advanced/Native)
  • Japanese (Elementary)
  • Mandarin (Elementary)

Speaks On:

  • women and LGBTI+ populations in diplomacy, security, and intelligence
  • gender-responsive procurement and entrepreneurship
  • gender equality in space

Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:

  • Design Thinking
  • LGBTI+ Intimate Partner Violence Prevention
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Gender-Based Violence Prevention
  • Top 25 Young Women to Watch in International Affairs
  • 30 Under 30 LGBTI+ Role Models
  • Boston Consulting Group & Out For Australia
  • Foundation for Young Australian's Unleashed Awards Spotlight Award
  • Impact Boom Elevate + Social Entrepreneur
  • United Nations Australia Association Community Award

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