Noreen was the first woman who held the position of Deputy Secretary-General for 24 years until her retirement in 1987. During that time, she acted as Secretary-General (the first woman) for various periods of time. As the foundation Executive Officer of the National International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Advisory Committee for Australian Red Cross, Noreen was instrumental in developing an IHL profile in all States and was a member of that Committee until 1994.
Noreen's many contributions include being an Australian Red Cross delegate to international conferences, preparing the inaugural seminar for African Red Cross Societies, leading a six-month training program for a Swedish Fellowship Trainee, organising and leading the 1969 Australian Red Cross Friendship Tour of Indonesia, secondment to Geneva in 1971 for relief efforts in Bangladesh, planning and implementing rehabilitation programs for the Vietnamese Red Cross after the civil war, and being the 1973 Australian Red Cross nominee to liaise with the government for the Diplomatic Conference on re-examining the Geneva Conventions. She actively participated in all four sessions of the Conference considering additional Protocols to the Conventions.
Within the Victorian Division of Australian Red Cross, Noreen took up the position of Chair, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Advisory Committee from1992 to 1998. This was a period of significant development for IHL in Victoria through the establishment of Australian Red Cross Chair of IHL at the University of Melbourne. Noreen also contributed to the successful work of Australian Red Cross in Victoria (ARCV) through her membership of the ARCV Executive and Council until October 2000.
Noreen’s domestic contributions were just as significant. She enjoyed a 32-year association with the National Blood Transfusion Committee of Australian Red Cross Society, contributing significantly to the growth and development of the Blood Transfusion Service throughout Australia. She also worked as the national Research and Advisory Assistant on HIV Litigation for Australian Red Cross.
Following her retirement, in 1998 Noreen was invited to Geneva by the ICRC to assist with the preparation of international celebrations to mark the 125th anniversary of the Red Cross movement.
For her tireless efforts and commitment to Australian Red Cross over the decades, Noreen was awarded the Member of the Order (AM) by the Council for the Order of Australia in 1987. She also received the following Australian Red Cross awards: Distinguished Service Award (1996), Medal for Meritorious Service (1972), Honorary Life Membership (1978).
In 2003, Noreen was awarded the highest honour bestowed upon people in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement – the Henry Dunant medal. A fundamental figure in making Australian National Society what it is today, she was pivotal in establishing its relationships within the broader Movement.
– Noreen Minogue, Australia
"She was an incredible trailblazer in the development of both the National Society and the IHL in Australia, and to women in leadership at Australian Red Cross".
Globally, women hold just 24% of senior leadership positions. The U.S. lags behind the global average at 21%, compared to China where women hold 51% of senior leadership slots.