In a year dominated by headlines of political hypocrisy and brutal lockdowns, two people have stood out as beacons of hope, ushering us forward with their bravery, honesty and smarts: Australian of the Year Grace Tame and former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.
In the face of intense and ongoing scrutiny, they have led with compassion, embodied courage and spoken with conviction about their experiences of sexual assault and the institutional inaction they faced subsequently.
Since Tame’s impassioned Australian of the Year acceptance speech captured the attention of the nation on January 25, the advocate for survivors of child sexual assault has become a powerhouse of progress, her stance igniting a reckoning for the women of Australia.
Meanwhile, Higgins will forever be synonymous with sparking a furious debate on gender-based violence and safety within Australian politics – and the workplace in general – following her brave decision to publicly allege she was raped by a colleague inside Parliament House.
With this in mind, there are no two people more suitable to front marie claire Australia’s special “Women of the Year” issue than these activists. In this very special issue, we celebrate the women who have fought with passion, led with bravery and inspired with their triumphs in 2021.
“Doing the marie claire shoot together in Brisbane was so much fun and has cemented our friendship,” Tame says in an exclusive piece, penned in tribute to her ally and friend.
“Brittany is fiercely intelligent, and her ability to articulate the situation and maintain diplomacy in the face of total ugliness and abhorrent behaviour is incredible”.
Higgins is similarly in awe, writing about Tame: “Not only does she speak with such a depth of knowledge about child sexual abuse and gendered violence but she does it in a way that is incredibly accessible to a wide range of people.
“There is no-one I trust more to celebrate my wins with or just ugly cry to. She’s a wonder.”
Tame and Higgins lead the 10-page “Women of the Year” portfolio in which we honour nine women – and the everyday activists of Biloela – who have risen to the challenge in 2021. In addition to our cover stars, they include Christine Holgate, Ash Barty, Charlee Fraser, Shareena Clanton, Ellie Cole, Emma McKeon, Chanel Contos, Priya Murugappan and the women of Biloela.
For more of our exclusive interviews with Grace and Brittany, as well as our full ‘Women of the Year’ portfolio, pick up a copy of marie claire Australia, out on November 18.