Last year really was the year for women in sport, and soccer superstar Sam Kerr’s Young Australian of the Year Award drives that home.
The 24-year-old Perth Glory striker received the gong at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday on the back of a remarkable 2017, with her goalscoring feats breaking new ground.
She said it wasn’t just young girls looking up to female athletes, but young boys were also idolising women sporting stars.
Listen: Mia Freedman is joined by sport fanatics Michelle Andrews and Gemma Garkut to unpack the rise of women’s sport, and why it’s taken so long. (Post continues.)
“I think women’s sport has taken a huge leap this year and a lot more people are getting behind it,” Kerr said.
“It’s great for not only the athletes involved, but the young kids growing up with great role models now.”
Australian of the Year
Scientist Michelle Yvonne Simmons has been named the 2018 Australian of the Year for her pioneering work in quantum physics.
Professor Simmons, who leads a team developing a silicon quantum computer able to solve problems in minutes rather than thousands of years, is passionate about encouraging girls to pursue a career in science and technology.
"Seeing women in leadership roles and competing internationally is important. It gives them the sense that anything is possible," she said.
Senior Australian of the Year Award
Scientist Graham Farquhar has been named the Senior Australian of the Year for his work improving water-efficient crops and analysing climate change.
The 70-year-old, who last year became the first Australian to receive the prestigious Nobel-equivalent Kyoto Prize, is passionate about photosynthesis.