Real safety. Real health. Real difference.

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South Australia’s top trailblazers recognised in Woman of the Year awards

The first woman of Afghan descent to serve in Australia’s military has been named SA’s Woman of the Year, one of six inspiring women recognised in the awards. Here are their stories. 

Kbora Ali has two uniforms she wears with pride – her camouflage fatigues as the first woman of Afghan descent to serve in the Australian Defence Force and the colourful, richly embroidered Hazara dress of her cultural heritage.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, dressed in cocktail attire among 200 guests, Ms Ali was crowned The Advertiser Sunday Mail SkyCity Woman of the Year.

Previous trailblazers to earn this accolade are Julie-Ann Finney, Professor Nicola Spurrier, Professor Helen Marshall and 2023 winner Australia’s first female astronaut Katherine Bennell Pegg.

The Advertiser Sunday Mail SkyCity Woman of the Year Awards annually acknowledges the incredible accomplishments of South Australian women, like Corporal Ali, across six categories.

Far more than a gala night of glamour and celebration, the awards honour both high profile names and individuals who have flown under the radar despite their remarkable achievements.

Keynote speakers included SA governor Frances Adamson and via video from Germany astronaut-in-training 2023 Women of the Year Katherine Bennell Pegg.


Social media campaigner Alexandra Thomas was recognised as the Phil Hoffman Travel Community Champion for her rural social change initiative #plantaseedforsafety.

Thomas said her father was her inspiration.

“He’s the stereotypical Aussie battler,” said Ms Thomas, who grew up on a remote sheep station, lived through severe drought and from age 15 became a carer for her seriously ill father.

“Born and bred in country, lives in Crystal Brook. This is all for him.”

Finalists and winners enjoyed deluxe prize packs from Penfolds and State Opera of SA, with Cosi Fan Tutte tickets and prestige South Australian wine.

The awards concluded with the crowning of Ms Ali as the overall 2024 winner of The Advertiser Sunday Mail Sky City Woman of the Year.

Originally published online on The Advertiser on 8/3/24. To view the full article, please click here.


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