Lauren Jackson now an ambassador for women

BASKETBALL superstar Lauren Jackson is “excited, thrilled and honoured” to be appointed as a national champion for women’s equality group UN Women National Committee Australia.

The Albury native has long been a passionate and committed activist for women’s rights and is already an ambassador of the Mukomeze Foundation, which helps empower women and girls who survived the sexual violence of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Jackson said having an official role with one of Australia’s biggest women’s advocacy groups was a privilege.

“It’s very exciting, it’s something that I love being involved in,” she said.

“I was really honoured to be asked and of course my answer was ‘yes, I’d love to be a part of the organisation’.

“I think my affiliation with Domestic Violence Services Australia and the other work I’d done with the Mukomeze Foundation and the women in Rwanda had been noted.

“I’d been to a few UN Women Australia conventions and I realised I wanted to be a part of the organisation and advocating for women.”

The UN Women National Committee Australia is one of 18 of its kind globally that supports UN Women through fund-raising and advocacy.

It has a formal membership of 1350, with more than 30,000 people attending its International Women’s Day events each year.

Jackson recently made headlines after being critical of the US sports media, which had largely ignored her WNBA-winning Seattle Storm teams of 2004 and 2010 when lauding the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl win as the city’s first major title since 1979.

But for Jackson, her new position means a more-encompassing role promoting gender equality.

“It’s more than just sport, it’s advocating for women everywhere, in all walks of life,” she said.

“Just the fact I get to be a role model and get to have a voice that’s heard, especially for the future.

“It’s something I’m trying to become an advocate for, so in that sense it’s a great role for me.”

Jackson will attend the Canberra International Women’s Day lunch on March 7 and the four-time Olympic medallist said she was looking forward to speaking to her legion of fans on social media about the importance of her new mantle.

“As things come up in Australia, I’ll be able to help out promoting them,” she said.

“I think equality is getting better (in Australia) but there’s huge ways to go yet.

“Worldwide, the numbers show the gender (equality) gap isn’t closing and that’s something I’m proud to be able to talk about.”

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