Wise Women

Jody Williams

Born in 1950 in Vermont, USA., Jody Williams learned to hate injustice at an early age when she witnessed fellow school children ruthlessly bullying her brother who was deaf and suffered from schizophrenia. Williams spent eleven years on various projects related [...]

Helen Clark

The eldest of four daughters of a farming family based in the Waikato region, Helen graduated with an MA (Honours) from the University of Auckland in 1974, majoring in politics. As a teenager Helen became politically active, protesting against the Vietnam [...]

Marin Alsop

Marin Alsop was born in New York City to professional musician parents, and was educated at the Masters School. She attended Yale University, but later transferred to the Juilliard School, where she earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in violin. [...]

Jenny Kee

Born in Bondi in 1947 to a Chinese father and Anglo-Italian mother, Jenny Kee's eclectic designer style is a fusion of fashion and art. Jenny studied fashion design at the East Sydney Technical College in 1963, however her love of exotic [...]

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is one of the most-honoured female country performers of all time. A composer of more than 3,000 songs, she is also one of the few to have received at least one nomination from the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony [...]

Gertrude Bell

Gertrude Bell was a writer, cartographer, archaeologist, and explorer who helped establish modern day Jordan and Iraq after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Both the British government and the Arab leaders claimed that she was valuable help thanks to her [...]

Lucille Ball

Beginning her career in 1929 as a model, Lucille Ball was the star of the self-produced sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy. After marrying Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940, [...]

Kerri Judd QC

Kerri Judd's career has included stints as a judge's associate and a defence barrister and she represented the state at the royal commissions into the Black Saturday bushfires and child sexual abuse. She also spent time in Alice Springs managing a [...]

Joanne Rowling

Joanne Rowling is a British novelist, philanthropist, film producer, television producer and screenwriter, best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series. The books have won multiple awards, and sold more than 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in [...]

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is one of today’s best-known Buddhist teachers. Born in New York City in 1952, Sharon Salzberg experienced a childhood involving considerable loss and turmoil. However, the teachings of Buddhism would eventually turn her life around. Through her unique interpretation [...]

Isha Judd

Born in Melbourne in 1962, Isha Judd has lived in South America since 2000, where she has built a large following as a writer and teacher as an Ambassador for Peace. She is the founder of Isha Educating for Peace, a [...]

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox Musician and AIDS Activist Since 2005, pop singer Annie Lennox has devoted the majority of her time to her SING campaign, raising awareness and money to combat HIV/AIDS. She shares the experiences that have inspired her, from working with [...]

Pam Warhurst

Pam Warhurst: Eating our landscapes With energy and humour, Pam Warhurst tells the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of [...]

Annie Liebovitz

An American portrait photographer, Anna-Lou Leibovitz was born in Connecticut, in 1949, the third of six children. Her mother Marilyn was a modern dance instructor of Estonian-Jewish heritage. Her father Samuel was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family [...]

Jane Fonda

Jane Seymour Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model and fitness guru. She is a two-time Academy Award winner, two-time BAFTA Award winner, and four-time Golden Globe Award winner. In 2014, Fonda was the recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award. In 2017, she was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime [...]

Joan Baez

American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and activist, Joan Baez has performed publicly for over 55 years. When a child, a friend of Joan's father gave her a ukulele. She learned four chords, which enabled her to play rhythm and blues, the music [...]

Betty Friedan

A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, Betty Friedan's 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. The "Problem That Has No Name" was described [...]

Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie was born on 7 November in 1867 in Poland (later naturalised French). The physicist and chemist pioneered the research on radioactivity together with her husband Pierre Curie. Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques [...]

Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville: Pioneer Scientist Mary Fairfax Somerville was born on 27 December 1780, the daughter of Vice-Admiral Sir William George Fairfax (scion of a distinguished family of Fairfaxes), and was related to several prominent Scottish houses through her mother. She was informally taught [...]

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