Observations & musings, Things that matter

Celebrating the Women I Admire on International Women’s Day

International Women's Day logo

Of course on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, it’s inevitable I will don my feminist hat with bunches of pride. We have come a long way in 100 years and it is right that we celebrate the progress that has been made. It is also a day to remember the past struggles and acknowledge the journey ahead to achieve true equality. And I’m not talking about just for women here. Equality is important for women, but it’s also critical for all the other minority groups out there that have been the subject of repression and subjugation over the thousands of years that societies have existed.

So I would like to dedicate today to the following women that I wish to acknowledge and celebrate this year on International Women’s Day becuase these are the the women I admire and respect. I list them in no particular order, except for the first which will always be at the very top of my list.

My Mum

Okay so maybe this one is dripping of personal bias, but I don’t really care. The fact remains is that my mother is and has always been my greatest inspiration and the most influential woman in my life. Yes, she’s my mother, but in addition to that, she is the most genuine human being I have ever encountered. There are no airs and graces. Only genuine My mum has faced many challenges in her life. A poor upbringing, subjugation from the family and poor numeracy and literacy skills that led to her only completing her grade 3 primary education, just to name a few. When I was growing up, she was a full-time carer to my grandfather during his late stage dementia. After that, she became carer to my grandmother who lived with us for a while before she died. Now at the age of 66, she runs her own hobby business teaching patchwork and doing machine quilting. She’s never short of a customer due to her incredible work ethic and her love of teaching. My mother is living proof that even when life hands you lemons, you can still make lemonade even when adversity is fighting you along your life journey. And despite all that, all I ever see s a love of life that fills the insides of a positively wonderful woman. I love you Mum!

Quentin Bryce

Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Ms Bryce’s list of accomplishments before becoming the GG is just incredible. Here’s but a few of the positions she has held:

  • Queensland director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
  • Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner
  • Founding chair and CEO of the National Childcare Accreditation Council
  • Chair of the National Breast Cancer Advisory Council
  • Member of the Australian Delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland

Wow!

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia

There has to be one women of history who makes it on my list and Catherine The Great finds herself here because of her monumental list of achievements during her time as ruler coupled with her belief on the ideals and principles of enlightenment. She was extremely intelligent and a very progressive leader. Her knowledge in Foreign Affairs led her to ability to extend the borders of the Russian Empire by roughly 200,000 miles, sign commercial treaties with other states and pioneer for Russia the role of mediator in military conflicts. Outside of foreign affairs she was also full of achievement. She achieved reforms in law and although she was unsuccessful in her push for a National school curriculum, she still reformed education knowing how important education was in the development of a strong Russian state. As a strong advocate for the principles of enlightenment, she Catherine’s furthered the evolution of the arts in Russia more than any Russian sovereign before or after her. In my mind, Catherine truly was Great.

Sonja Bernhardt OAM

Ms Bernhardt is an Australian information technology industry identity and one of my professional role models. She founded WiT (Women in Technology) and co-founded AWISE (Australian Women in IT and Science Entity). Ms Bernhardt is very active in the area of supporting women in IT especially addressing the under-representation of women in technology, a subject quite dear to my own heart for obvious reasons.

Dr Elizabeth Edmondson – Monash University

One of the best things ever happened as a result of me doing my Information Technology & Systems degree occured when I chose some elective subjects in the Arts faculty. Specifically, these topics were from the Politics, History and Social Sciences genre. And it was Dr Edmunton who was my educator in almost all of them. I have never had the privillage of meeting her in person, but I could pick her voice out from any crowd given I have listened to all her audio lectures at least one and often, twice. When you get a really great teacher, you know it. And Dr Edmonson’s effervescent enthusiasm for History and Politics can’t help but rub off on you. She has challenged my thinking and my assumptions on all manner of things that matter. I have her to thank for enhancing my wisdom and my understanding of many topics I thought I had a good handle on until she taught me that I hadn’t even really begun to explore them very deeply. I will always be greatful for the privillage of being able to sit in her classroom.

Have I missed anyone you think is important? No doubt about it. So feel free to add the women you consider magnificent in the comments section below.

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