8 Women Making History In 2021

Meet the change-makers of the year
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The year is off to a hopeful and inspiring start, thanks to these ambitious women who are already making headlines for their change-making moves and incredible accomplishments.

From poets to politicians, these women are pioneers of change from around the world, whose intentions are grounded in making the world a better place.

Some hail from Australian shores, while others are leading the charge abroad – but what they each have in common is the relentless pursuit of making a positive impact in both our world, work and life.

Grace Tame

As a survivor of sexual assault, Grace Tame’s courage and bravery to speak of her deeply personal experience is nothing short of extraordinary. “Discussion of child sexual abuse is uncomfortable. But nothing is as uncomfortable as abuse itself,” she said when she was honoured as the 2021 Australian of the Year.

This year, she plans to use her platform as a true force for good to raise awareness and educate people about sexual abuse as a means of prevention for the future.

Tanya Oxtoby

Ambition and drive has never been in short supply for soccer coach Tanya Oxtoby – the ambitious Australian sportswoman with Indigenous heritage who grew up in a remote mining town in Western Australia, where she (both literally and metaphorically) kicked her first career goals. She has worked tirelessly throughout her career and many prestigious coaching roles, before taking on the coveted post as manager of Bristol City in England’s Women’s Super League (WSL).

She is passionate about nurturing future sporting talent and increasing opportunities for Indigenous Australians to take up the sport.

Sam White

Sam White, Director & CEO of Stella. Photo: Supplied

As far as breaking the glass ceiling in business goes, Sam White, Director and CEO of Stella Insurance has made quite the impact, disrupting the heavily male-dominated world of car insurance.

New to the Australian market, Stella Insurance is a female-first, purpose driven business, created by women, for women. Stella is building a community through their platforms to help educate, support and empower females to balance the gender bias in matters such as insurance – and life at large. Starting with car insurance, the company designs products and customer experiences that help prioritise the needs and lifestyles of women to give them a fresh and fair perspective. Stella’s purpose strives to partner with like-minded people and organisations to drive actionable and progressive change for women.

An entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, White started her first insurance company at the age of 24.

“When it came to work, I quickly realised that the conventional path wouldn’t suit me,” she says. “I rebuffed conformity and set up my first insurance company, acutely aware that it was traditionally considered a male-dominated, almost-sterile industry. The irony wasn’t lost on me.

“Ultimately though, our purpose is much bigger than changing the insurance game. Our plan is to change the game, full stop.”

Antoinette Braybrook

Antoinette Braybrook is the CEO of Djirra, an organisation that celebrates and shares Indigenous culture and provides real support to Aboriginal women and people who are experiencing, or have experienced family violence.

Braybrook was born in Wurundjeri country, and was recently inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, as she continues to dedicate her life and work as a true champion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

Amanda Gorman

When Amanda Gorman stepped up to the lectern at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden in January, she became the youngest poet to speak at an inauguration, reciting her inspiring verse, The Hills We Climb.

As the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, a history-making honour she was awarded in 2017, her elegant prose and messages of hope are sure to inspire and uplift for many years to come. She has also been vocal about her ambitions to run for president in the future – in the meantime, we shall patiently “watch this space”.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris hardly needs an introduction, but no list of history-making women in 2021 would be complete without her. Continuing her outstanding achievement in public service as a senator, earlier this year she became the first female Vice President of the US and the first Black and south Asian woman to serve in this role.

During her Vice-President-elect acceptance speech, she said: “To the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way.”

We think that’s pretty darn inspiring.    

Naomi Osaka

Continuing her reign as the Australian Open champion in 2021, Naomi Osaka is making both powerful and benevolent moves alike on an off the court. She was the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, and last year, became the highest-paid female athlete in the world. Over the past year, she’s also used her voice to pledge her support to the Black Lives Matter movement, wearing face masks printed with the names of victims of racial injustice to the US Open.

She’s also demonstrated incredible sportsmanship when she comforted her opponent Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff – and on another occasion, delicately removed a butterfly that landed on her cheek earlier this year, pausing to ensure it flew away safely before returning to her game. There’s no doubt that all eyes will be on this woman of action in 2021 and beyond.

Yanti Turang

Yanti Turang may not yet be a household name, but her heroism as an Australian registered nurse who fought on the Covid-19 frontline in the US last year – and as the founder of global health non-profit LearnToLive – suggests one day she ought to be. Caring for others in times of crisis seems to be a recurring theme in Turang’s life, having worked in Sierra Leone in 2015 during the Ebola outbreak. 

Brought to you by Stella.

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