5 Inspirational Australian Women
March 8 marks International Women’s Day across the globe. It’s a day where we celebrate women across the globe, their achievements, femininity, strength, resilience, beauty, and so much more. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, which focuses on creating a gender equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination where different is valued and celebrated.
There are many ways you can celebrate and get involved on this very important day - attend an IWD event, get involved with the project collaborations, or start fundraising for female-focused charities. Strike the 2022 pose and share your picture on social media using the hashtags #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.
Ahead of this very special day, we look at 5 inspirational and powerful Australian women who have made a positive impact on the world and have inspired us (and generations to come) to believe that we can achieve our goals.
Turia Pitt is one of Australia’s most inspiring women to date. Amid a 100k ultramarathon she was competing in, Pitt was caught in a grassfire and suffered third-degree burns to 65% of her body.
Told she’d never run again, after 200 surgeries, six months in a hospital, and two years in recovery later, Pitt rose from the brink of death and made her comeback by completing her first ironman! Having rebuilt her life by committing her time to humanitarian work, Pitt is now an ambassador for Interplast Australia and New Zealand, an author, and a motivational speaker.
Pitt is indeed not someone who stays down after she’s been dragged through hell and back. She is a true inspiration for women all around the world.
Born and raised in Ethiopia in a refugee camp, Nyadol Nyuon resettled with her family in Australia in 2005 after felling the Second Sudanese Civil War. Working as a lawyer and human rights advocate, she has dedicated her life to create conversations about the need for societal change in Australia.
In 2011 and 2014, she was recognised as one of Australia’s most influential African-Australian women and in 2019, listed in the top 11 of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Most Influential Australian Women. While she continues to lead community engagement within the Department of Justice in Victoria, Nyadol also a powerful inspirational speaker on leadership, resilience, diversity and inclusion.
At the age of 16, Freeman became the first Indigenous Australian to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and named Young Australian of the year. In 1992, she become the first Australian Aboriginal person to compete at the Olympics and while didn’t win a medal, she brought new attention to the Aboriginal people. Ranked as the 6th fastest 400-metre sprinters of all time, Cathy continued competing for Australia until 2003 when she retired from racing.
In 2007, she founded the Cathy Freeman Foundation, a foundation that focuses on children’s education in remote indigenous communities. Her vision is to create an Australia where Indigenous and non-Indigenous children have the same education standards and opportunities in life.
Not usually known by name, Edith Cowan is recognised as the woman in the 50 dollars Australian note. Alive to the injustices created by poverty and lack of education, especially for girls and women, Cowan soon set her serious and critical faculties to relieving their distress Edith spent all of her life fighting against domestic violence, drunkenness and women’s legal disadvantages.
In 1912, Cowan become one of Western Australia’ first female Justices of the Peace and when World War I hit, she put her efforts into patriotic work, fund-raising for the Red Cross and starting up the Soldiers' Welcome Home.
It was in 1921, when she became the first Australia women to serve as a member of parliament and introduced the Women’s Legal Status Bill, which stated that no person be disqualified from any public, civil or judicial function by sex and in turn paved the way for our current Sex Discrimination laws.
Ita Buttrose is an Australian journalist, editor and businessman who has held many prestigious titles in the Australian publishing world.
Recruited by media magnate Frank Packer to create a new magazine for his company, Buttrose founded Cleo in 1972 which highlighted women’s economic and sexual independence. In 1975 at only 33, she was named editor editor of Autralian Women’s Weekly, the youngest person to ever hold that title. She was also the first woman to edit a major Australia metropolitan newspaper and the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of News Limited.
Aside from paving the way in the publishing world, Buttrose devoted much of her time to raising public awareness of a range of social and health issues. She was noted for her efforts to educate Australian about the global epidemic of AID and later become involved with Alzheimer’s Australia and other organisations that provided support and advocacy for people living with chronic diseases.