Straight up, 2020 was a seriously tough year. But despite the multiple lockdowns and uncertainty about life in general, women rose to the top (like we had any doubt).
The International Women’s Day 2021 global theme is #ChooseToChallenge. 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 get pumped about.
Today, and every day, we’re celebrating 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.
While we could create a never ending list on the women we admire, here are some that we reckon deserve an extra shout out.
Prepare to be seriously inspired.
We’re kicking off this list with a name that is currently on everyone’s lips—and for good reason, Grace Tame is an absolute warrior. A survivor of a horrific and prolonged sexual assault that started when she was just 15, Tame has gone to be a voice for the voiceless. In 2017, Tame, alongside journalist Nina Funnell created the Let Her Speak campaign, which sought to change Section 194K of Tasmania’s Evidence Act, which made it illegal for survivors of child sexual abuse to be identified in the media. The law was officially changed in April 2020, giving Tame the chance to finally speak her truth. The result was nothing short of inspiring, giving victims hope and a chance to share their story, if and when they chose too. In January she was awarded The 2021 Australian of the year and pledged to use her platform to honour and amplify the voices of survivors. Honestly, we have nothing but massive respect and love for this warrior. Follow her journey here.
Laura Thompson And Sianna Catullo
If you’re a regular at Urban List, you’ll already be very familiar with these two queens because they’ve so generously offered their time to collaborate on a series of important First Nations articles. Laura Thompson, a proud Gunditjmara woman, is the co-founder and managing director of Clothing The Gap, an Aboriginal owned and led social enterprise and fashion label that commits 100 percent of their profits to support health promotion activities in Aboriginal communities. Thompson and Sianna Catullo, a proud Narungga woman and Clothing The Gap’s Chief Creative Officer, have been working tirelessly to elevate Aboringal voices on every single platform. Their Free The Flag campaign saw every team in the AFL don CTG’s flag tee in the lead up to the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round. Not only did it bring us to tears, their merch with meaning gave thousands of Aussie’s a lesson in the origins of the flag and it’s copyright. Not stopping there, the duo opened the doors of CTG’s first brick and mortar store in Melbourne in December 2020, providing employment to even more Aborignal youth. To learn more about the Free The Flag campaign and support CTG and the amazing crew behind it, head here.
The Bodzilla AKA April Hélène-Horton is the body love advocate the whole world needs to know about. The Aussie model is determined to change the way we think about bikini bodies and beauty and she’s doing it one inspiring Instagram post and billboard sign at a time. That’s right, in February, Bodzilla made fashion (and body positivity history) as the first plus size bikini model to be featured on a billboard in Australia. Appearing on digital billboards right across Australia for fashion label Curvy Swimwear’s 'Beach Please' campaign, Bodzilla sent a strong message to fashion and beauty brands around the world—we’re no longer standing for the stereotypical beauty norms we’ve grown up with, every body is a beach body. Keep your self love game strong with Bodzilla right here.
Jess And Stef Dadon
Now, more than ever, sustainability needs to be at the forefront of a business—especially in the world of fast fashion. And in our opinion, two absolute leaders in Australia are the Dadon sisters who co-founded vegan shoe label TWOOBS. The duo are constantly innovating and adapting their business for the better of the environment and not their pockets—other designers take note. Using recycled materials that were saved from a life in landfill, they created lightweight shoes that feel as good for your feet as they are for the planet. Whatsmore, once your TWOOBS are toast, they encourage you to send them back so they can recycle them into playground mats—we’ll call that some serious green magic. And we have to shout out their new collab with First Nations’ artists Cungelella Art which sold out in mere hours (you can read more about here). Honestly, these women make sustainability oh so stylish. Follow them here.
If you were looking up the definition of trailblazer in the dictionary, you’d find Yasmin Poole. At just 22, the Canberra-based youth advocate, speaker and writer spends her time championing for the voices of young Australians, ensuring they have a place in Australia’s political conversations. As well as speaking at forums like APEC and the G20, Poole is Plan International's National Ambassador (advocating for girls' rights to be recognised around the world), is a non-executive Board Director of OzHarvest, (Australia’s leading food rescue charity) and YWCA (a national feminist organisation that has supported women and girls for 140 years). Whatsmore, this year she was awarded Youth Influencer of the Year by The Martin Luther King Jr Center—and did we mention she’s a law student? The future is looking oh so bright with legends like Poole on the ground. Get familiar with her right here.
For years there were only uber-polished influencers flooding our Insta feeds, lowkey making us feel pretty insecure. In the last year though, the tide has changed, with a new wave of realness hitting our socials. And the one that stands out from the pack for us is Allira Potter. The Yorta Yorta psychic and mindset coach offers group healings, one on one tarot readings and even hosts sessions for First Nations people only, offering a pay it forward program where you can gift readings to those in need. We absolutely live for her no BS, real talk on her daily Instagram stories where she opens up about her battles with anxiety and depression, creating a safe space for people—especially young women—to speak up and feel seen. Another feather in her mystical hat? She’s body positivity personified, taking her followers on her body confidence journey, reminding us all to stop, breathe and appreciate ourselves. Fill your cup with her good vibes right here.
Here’s a crazy stat for you: The full-time average weekly ordinary earnings for women are 13.4% less than for men. If you’re shaking your head in anger you’re not alone. In fact it was insane stats like these that inspired award-winning journalist turned entrepreneur Meggie Palmer to create PepTalkHer, an app that helps you track your career successes, teaches you confidence and negotiation skills and basically gives you a pep talk when you need it most. In short, Palmer is on a crusade to close the gender pay gap once and for all. Yep, she’s the money superhero we all need. Splitting her time between New York and Australia, her PepTalkHer team runs corporate programs for big companies like JP Morgan and Revlon, and run sessions that teach corporate companies how to foster an inclusive workplace. If you’ve ever been scared to ask for that payrise or questioned your worth in your workplace—PepTalkHer is the side kick you need. Check it out here.
The Australian-born Chinese style icon has long been our go-to for the fashion trends we need to know about (she launched her fashion blog at the age of 16). Boasting a cool 1.2 million Instagram followers, the 27-year-old has just made history as the youngest ever editor at Vogue after she was appointed editor in chief of Vogue China. She even earned high praise from Anna Wintour who said Zhang’s, “international experience, exceptional multi platform digital expertise, and wide-ranging interests are the perfect combination to lead Vogue China into the future.” We couldn’t agree more. But that’s not all Zhang has been up to, she also wrote a screenplay titled Number 65 about Chinese mother-daughter dynamics and co-founded Background, a consultancy company that works to bridge western and Chinese cultures. Yep, we’re exhausted just thinking about her workload. Follow Zhang’s journey here.
Dose up on all the inspirational career advice right here.