As we head into March, there is lots to shout about and celebrate, not least because it’s Australian Women’s History Month AND International Women’s Day!
Both of these campaigns offer us an opportunity to reflect on the women in our lives and communities who make it better. Whether that’s a parent, a teacher, family member, friend or celebrity role model – we know there are many people out there doing amazing things!
What is Australian Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Month doesn’t just take place in Australia. Countries worldwide have chosen March as the month to acknowledge the incredible contribution of women to various areas of society and industry. From science and engineering to healthcare, education and politics, it’s a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change.
The first Women’s History Month was celebrated in Australia in 2000 and has gained momentum ever since. Schools, universities, charities, and organisations nationally hold different events to highlight historical and contemporary women who have made a difference.
It’s also a fantastic opportunity for young girls and women to see others like them forging pathways across different career sectors.
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day takes place on the 8th of March annually. It’s a day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.
The first International Women’s Day took place in 1911, supported by over a million people around the world. This year’s theme is #BreaktheBias, with the campaign asking – how will you help break bias against women?
5 Australian Women to Celebrate
One great way to #BreaktheBias is to read up and learn more about different women in your community.
Here are five Australian women worth knowing:
1. Grace Tame: Activist & Australian of the Year 2021
Kicking off is the incredible advocate, Grace Tame. Grace Tame was the victim of a prolonged sexual assault that started when she was just 15, an experience that led her on an extraordinary journey to change outdated policies, giving a voice to girls and women everywhere.
In 2018, Grace and 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. Thanks to Grace’s relentless work, the law was officially changed in April 2020, giving Grace the chance to speak about her experience finally.
In January 2021, she was awarded Australian of the year and had gone to use her platform to amplify the voices of survivors.
2. Margaret Tucker: Aboriginal Rights Activist & Writer
Margaret (Lilardia) Tucker (1904–1996) was born at Warrangesda Mission, near Darlington Point, NSW. When she was 12, Margaret was taken from her mother and sent to the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls.
Margaret began campaigning for Indigenous rights in the 1930s and, in 1932, was one of the founding members of theAustralian Aborigines League (AAL). Margaret represented the AAL during the Day of Mourning protest in 1938 and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1968 in honour of her activism.
Margaret’s courage to stand up and speak out helped to change the landscape of Aboriginal rights across Australia.
3. Jean Galbraith: Botanist & Gardener
Jean Galbraith (1906–1999) was a botanist, gardener and writer. She began training herself in botany as a teenager and became highly regarded in the industry, despite having no formal qualifications whatsoever!
She published her first articles about native birds at the age of 19 and spent the next 70 years writing about gardening, guides to native wildflowers, botanical articles, children’s stories and even poetry.
Jean’s a fantastic example of how following our passions can lead to great things.
4. Chantelle Baxter: Co-Founder of One Girl
Chantelle Baxter grew up in Melbourne, living a pretty normal life. During a life-changing trip to Sierra Leone, Chantelle was struck by the challenges women and girls faced everywhere and committed herself to do something about it. She co-founded the grass-roots movement and charity, One Girl in 2009.
One Girl runs many campaigns, projects, programs and initiatives to help keep women and girls in school, empowering them to be the leaders of their own lives. Chantelle still works as co-founder, helping One Girl achieve its mission of educating one million girls across Africa.
5. Yasmin Poole: Youth Advocate, Speaker & Writer
Yasmin Poole is the very definition of a trailblazer! At just 22, Yasmin spends most of her time championing young Australians, ensuring they have a voice in Australia’s political conversations.
Alongside studying Law, Yasmin is Plan International’s National Ambassador, where she advocates for girls’ rights to be recognised around the world, and a non-executive Board Director of OzHarvest and the Young Women’s Christian Association.
Yasmin was also awarded Youth Influencer of the Year by The Martin Luther King Jr Center. We love Yasmin’s dedication and her shining example that, no matter your age, you CAN make a difference.
3 Great Ways to Get Involved this March
PHEW! We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling pretty inspired!
We know Grace Tame is a bit of a hero for everyone, but who else on this list has got you all revved up, ready to take on the world?
Remembering that it’s Women’s History Month ALL month – here are some great ways to keep getting involved:
- Create a display at school: Get your teachers and classmates involved and create a visual display at school! You could change this each week to highlight a different group of women, or maybe create a board per subject highlighting great Australian women who have contributed!
- Keep sharing stories: Inspired by someone above? Or any other women in your life – take some time to read more about their stories their work and then share it across social media.
- See what events are happening in your area: There are lots of great events happening as part of International Women’s Day. Find out more here!
However you choose to celebrate or acknowledge these campaigns, we hope you take some time to reflect and see how many women have and continue to blaze the way – making any career dreams you, no matter your gender identity, a true reality.