Australian women trailblazer edition

International Women’s Day (March 8) is about celebrating all women are and strive to be but what does an Australian woman look like? You could throw the words around like diverse, vibrant, ambitious, intelligent, compassionate, etc. and you wouldn’t even come close to describing the myriad of influential female figures that you encounter in everyday life.  So in an attempt to not make this the longest post in history, here are just some of the Aussie women that are trailblazers in community outreach, academia, politics, social justice or the board room.

Greens MP Lidia Thorpe

  • Lidia Thorpe

Lidia is the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman to take office in the Victorian parliament as the Greens MP. A Gunnai Gunditjmara woman, Lidia, despite backlash has continued to strive for   true reconciliation between First Peoples and Second Peoples of Australia.

  • Uppma Virdi

She went practicing law to starting her own business and in the space of two years won Business Woman of the Year 2016 Indian Australian Business and Community Awards (IABCA). The definition of boss lady, through her business ‘Chai Walli’ and philosophy of tea bringing together is blending her Indian and Australian culture.

L-R Former PM Julia Gillard and Marita Cheng

  • Marita Cheng

The Young Australian of the Year 2012, Marita Cheng is the founder and CEO of aubot (previously named 2Mar Robotics). Aubot creates the Telepresence robot, Teleport, which enables cancer patients in hospitals to attend school, elderly people to socialize and people with disabilities attend work. Marita also founded Robogals Global , which runs robotics workshop for girls, encouraging them to enter engineering. So far Robogals has taught 70,000 girls in 11 countries.

Dr. Marianne Jauncey

  • Marianne Jauncey

Dr. Marianne Jauncey is the Medical Director at the Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney. Public Health Physician and advocate for increasing hepatitis C treatment access for drug users that inject. Drug law reform rethink stance for a more compassionate Christian response. This in line with the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of NSW and ACT’s  call for harm reduction strategies and the decriminalization of small amount of illicit drugs.

  • Caitlin Figueiredo

In 2016 the then US first lady, Michelle Obama named Caitlin Global Changemaker for Global Equity. Caitlin was also named the Westpac/AFR’s 100 Women of Influence, Young Leader. She is the founder of VGen World Vision’s youth movement in Canberra as well as Art for Peace in Pakistan. Caitlin also runs Lake Nite Learing upskilling 1600 men and women annually.

Aunty Dorothy

  • Aunty Dorothy Harris-Gordon

In 1999 Aunty Dorrie became the first ordained Aboriginal woman in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) NSW and ACT. In 49 years of ministry Aunty Dorrie has seen her advocate for Aboriginal rights, with her late husband established a community rehab centre and for ten years was the chaplain in NSW prisons.

  • Emelda Davis

In 2016 Emelda was nominated for NSW Women of the Year.  As president of the Australian South Sea Islanders Port Jackson  is strong voice creating awareness of Australia’s Sugar Slaves or Black Birding that saw South Sea Islanders often kidnapped and forced to work in conditions plantations.

  • Your Mum

Your mum, your grandmother, your aunt, your sisters and those who have been positive female/mother figures in your life. The ones who continue to inspire and who support you. The ones who might not receive the accolades but their achievements speak volumes to those around them.

Happy International Women’s Day.


P.S. For all the men out there who are actively embracing and advocating for gender equality and all round respect, we see you and we appreciate you too!

Melissa Stewart

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