Kate Jenkins

Commissioner, Lawyer and Solicitor

Kate Jenkins was appointed to the position of Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner in February 2016 while she was serving as Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights commissioner, a position she had held since 2013. Jenkins was educated at Tintern Grammar and Geelong Grammar School, followed by the University of Melbourne where she studied arts and law and graduated with double honours degrees. Between 1993 and 2013, Jenkins was partner at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills); her areas of specialisation included equal opportunity and diversity. She is a current board member (and former director) of the Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Carlton Football Club; for many years she also served on the board of Berry Street Victoria, a charity which helps disadvantaged children, young people and families. In her role as Victorian Equal Opportunity commissioner, Jenkins conducted an independent review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, among Victoria Police personnel. She also convened a Victorian chapter of the 'Male Champions of Change' group, an initiative of former Federal Sex Discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick which aims to advance gender equality and increase opportunities for women in the workplace by enlisting the assistance of men in positions of power in the workplace. In 2015, Jenkins was named in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.

Sources used to compile this entry: 'What Kate Jenkins, Human Rights commissioner, learned about discrimination', http://www.afr.com/leadership/what-kate-jenkins-human-rights-commissioner-learned-about-discrimination-20150824-gj64wk (viewed 31 August 2016); 'Kate Jenkins named Australia's new Sex Discrimination Commissioner', http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/kate-jenkins-named-australias-new-sex-discrimination-commissioner-20160211-gmrhe1(viewed 31 August 2016); 'Appointment of new Sex Discrimination Commissioner', Joint Media Release - Attorney-General Senator The Hon George Brandis QC & Minister for Women Senator The Hon Michaelia Cash, 11 February 2016, https://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Mediareleases/Pages/2016/FirstQuarter/11-February-2016-Appointment-of-new-Sex-Discrimination-Commissioner.aspx (viewed 13 August 2016); 'Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins', Commissioners, Australian Human Rights Commission, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/commissioners/sex-discrimination-commissioner-kate-jenkins (viewed 13 August 2016); Moran, Patrick, Herd, Margaret & Leanne Gillard (eds), 'Jenkins, Kate', Who's Who in Australia 2015 (East Melbourne: AAP Directories, 2014), p. 1211.

Prepared by Marina Loane