The International Women’s Day 2020 global theme is #EachForEqual. Campaigning for a gender-balanced world is at the essence of IWD and now more than ever, we live in a time where injustices are called out and inclusivity and equality, is championed. And that is certainly something to celebrate.
We’re championing the women in our communities right across the country that are campaigning for change, be it though their work, their side hustle or their unwavering support of other women everywhere.
Prepare to be seriously inspired.
While our male cricket team dominates the headlines, we reckon it’s high time the media shone a spotlight on our talented female team and in particular, Ellyse Perry. Since making her international debut aged 16 in 2007, the allrounder has gone on to dominate the cricket world, winning numerous awards, and becoming the youngest person to ever play international cricket for Australia. She also shelved a football career that in 2011 saw her become the first female to represent Australia at World Cups in two different sports. Impressed? Us too! But what we stan most about her, is her ongoing fight to have women’s cricket seen in equal standing with the men. And her voice is being heard, with the ICC last year announcing a 360% increase in overall prize money for the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. But she isn’t done yet, Perry will continue her fight until they reach equal pay.
IWD 2020 mantra #EachForEqual isn’t just about calling out the disparity between men and women, it’s also about women feeling equality represented among themselves, and one person that is flying that flag is Maeva Heim. After working with big name brands like L’Oréal and Procter and Gamble, Heim, a marketing specialist, quit the biz to become a haircare entrepreneur. Disheartened after noticing a distinct lack of diversity in the international beauty industry, she decided to create her own haircare range, Bread Beauty Supply, featuring products that care for and celebrate women with curly and afro hair. And the world is taking notice with Heim and Bread Beauty Supply selected to be part of Sephora’s accelerate cohort programme. And did we mention it’s the first Australian brand to ever be selected! Yep, Heim is boss babe goals.
In the words of Beyoncé, who run the world? Girls! And one in particular that is paving the way for a better future is Macinley Butson. At just 18—yes, you read that right—the teenage inventor has created an a slew of life-saving devices, from a solar-power system that filters dirty water to make it drinkable to SMART Armour. The latter, which stands for Scale Maille Armour for Radiation Therapy is a high density copper that works to shield breast cancer patients from excess radiation when having treatment. Yep, it’s mind blowing. The shield has already been extensively tested and has approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration for practice. She’s flying the flag for girls to get involved in STEM all over the world.
There’s no denying it, we need to talk more about climate change, and we need someone who is looking out for our future. Enter, Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council—Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. At 20, McKenzie founded her first not for profit—the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and at 32, she’s the youngest CEO of in the Climate Council’s history. As well as advocating for change within the government, McKenzie and Climate Council started a program called the Cities Power Partnership, designed to empower local governments around Australia with the resources they need to craft and implement effective climate action plans. Thanks to McKenzie and her team, there are now over 120 local governments, representing over 10 million people, who signed up to the program.
Here’s what you might or might not know about Tayla Harris. She’s a Rockstar AFL player, has twice been named in the AFLW All-Australian team, and was Carlton's leading goalkicker in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. She is also a professional boxer, undefeated after seven bouts. What makes her a total gamechanger and worthy of this list? She’s on a crusade to stop online trolling, against women in particular. Harris made headlines all over the country in 2019 when a photo of her—dubbed "The Kick"—went viral after receiving thousands of hateful comments online. Not wanting the same thing to happen to others, the Carlton forward is calling for the AFL to fight back against trolls. She’s even offered to give up her wage to pay for them to employ a social media monitor and remove racist, homophobic and sexist posts. That’s what we call taking one for the (female) team.
Billie Jean Hamlet
Say hello to the new face of fashion, Billie Jean Hamlet. The seriously stunning indigenous model, who only signed with Priscilla’s Modelling Management less than six months ago, can be found on billboards all over the place as the face of Country Road’s new 2020 campaign. Growing up in the small remote community of Ngurtuwarta in Fitzroy Crossing, Hamlet, a Walmatjarri/Yamatiji woman, is bringing a much-needed hit of diversity to our screens. And she’s using her new fame to encourage other brands to celebrate indigenous Australians in their businesses, joining Marie Claire’s “It’s Time” campaign for the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and spreading awareness about the Uluru Statement.
Here’s a crazy statistic—women retire with 42% less superannuation than men! Shocking right? That’s why we want you to get acquainted real quick with Kirstin Hunter, the Managing Director at Future Super where she is leading the movement to use the power of money to invest, advocate and campaign for a future worth retiring into. After starting her career as a solicitor, Hunter went on to specialise in financial services strategy, using her skills to help women carve out the best future for themselves. But that’s not all, Hunter has also done pro-bono work for non-profits including the Aboriginal Trust Fund Remuneration Scheme, OzHarvest and Whitelion, chaired the board of the Youth Food Movement Australia, and founded Aussie Babywearers for Refugees. Yep, she’s making waves.
We absolutely stan a celebrity that uses their voice for those who can’t be heard and that’s why Sydney singer Montaigne was a no brainer for this list. The performer, who gained fame after submitting songs to triple J’s Unearthed project while she was still in high school, is a huge advocate for climate change, using her platform to spread the word. How? She’s a regular figure at Climate Change protests, lending her voice for musical performances, she attended the Aria’s with the words ‘People over Profit' and 'Stop Adani!' painted on her chest and face and our fave? Her music video Ready, which sees Montaigne and a crew of fellow students abandon their classes to come together to protest and demand change surrounding the global-warming crisis. She’s about to represent Australia at Eurovision and we can’t wait to see what she pulls out of the bag.
Dr Nikki Stamp
Did you know that in Australia, only 12% of surgeons are female? And only 5-6% are heart and lung surgeons. Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Nikki Stamp is leading the crusade to change those stats for the better. She’s spent years working tirelessly to break down barriers in her own traditionally male-dominated field speaking at women empowerment events, researching women’s health and being a prominent participant in social media campaign #ILookLikeASurgeon— a movement that works to break down imposed gender roles in the medical profession and champion female surgeons doing awesome things. She’s also a proud mentor and supporter of women in surgery and of women in all careers, paving the way for a stronger, more diverse future.
It’s true that we’re striving for gender equality across all industries, but one of the toughest to crack is the world of tech. But the male-dominated industry is currently (and rightfully so) getting the shake-up it needs. And it’s being led by Ally Watson and her company Code Like A Girl. A backend developer by trade, Watson founded Code Like A Girl in 2015 as a way to meet other women who code. Fast forward five years and CLAG is changing the face of tech by offering females courses, camps and events where they can learn the ins and outs of coding across the country. Their mission statement to ‘empower and enable women and girls to be equal creators in building the future’ gives us chills.
The Empty Esky Group
Ok so we’re kind of cheating here, because it’s not one but three powerhouse women behind Empty Esky but this initiative is so incredible we just had to include them. In case you missed it, in response to the devastating bushfires that ravaged our country, Melbourne mates Erin Boutros, Eleanor Baillieu and Elise Mason launched the Empty Esky campaign on Instagram and garnered over 10,000 followers in under 24-hours. The campaign sought to encourage Aussies to support local businesses affected by the Australian fires by visiting towns with an empty esky and filling it with local produce and goods in an effort to stimulate the local economy. Check out their Insta here for inspo.
Dose up on all the inspirational career advice right here.
Image credit: Johnny Diaz Nicolaidis