Wise Women Stories

Wise Women Stories2018-12-28T19:30:07+00:00

Our mission is to shine a light on the determination, talent, achievements, passion and wisdom of 50+ women, both past and present.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Gillian Armstrong

Born in Melbourne, Armstrong attended Swinburne Technical College with the intention of becoming a theatre costume designer, but became increasingly interested in film. In 1972 Armstrong won a scholarship to join the first 12 students at Australia’s first [...]

Shirin Ebadi

Shirin studied law at the University of Tehran and passed the judicial qualification exams upon her graduation in 1969, continuing her studies, to earn a Ph.D. in law. As a lawyer, she is known for taking up pro [...]

Christina Fonfé

After learning 80 percent of those who drowned during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami were women and children, British swimming instructor Christina Fonfé left her life in England behind to teach Sri Lankan women and girls basic swimming [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Michelle Obama

Michelle Robinson was raised on the South Side of Chicago, Michelle’s father suffered from multiple sclerosis, which had a profound emotional effect on her as she was growing up. She was determined to stay out of trouble and [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Posie Graeme-Evans

Posie Graeme-Evans has worked in Australian film and television for the last 30 years as a director, commissioning executive and creator/producer of hundreds of hours of drama and children’s series, including the worldwide smash hit McLeod’s Daughters and [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes was an American actress whose career spanned 80 years. Making her stage debut in 1905 as a five-year-old singer, she is one of 15 people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is currently Chancellor of Germany. She is also the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel has been described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, [...]

Dr Jane Goodall

"My job is giving people hope" British born Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE, is considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees. She is best known for her 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Heather McKay

Heather McKay, AM, MBE, AO was born Heather Blundell in 1941, the eighth of eleven children growing up in Queanbeyan, NSW. She played tennis in summer and hockey in winter. and most of her brothers and sisters also [...]

Alla Wolf Tasker

Alla Wolf Tasker has enough national and international awards to fill virtually every wall of her house on the lake. Recent accolades include a listing in Tatler’s Top 100 hotels in the world, listing in The Australian’s Hottest [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Corazón Aquino

Corazón Aquino: Political Pioneer Corazón Aquino was a Filipina politician who served as the 11th President of the Philippines, the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. Regarded as the "Icon of [...]

Helena Rubinstein

Helena Rubinstein: Aussie Entrepreneur Not that many people know about Helena Rubinstein's Australian connections. Chaya Rubinstein was born in Kraców, Poland in 1870, the eldest of eight daughters of Horace Rubinstein, an egg merchant and his wife Augusta. When [...]

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 [...]

Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen: First woman Chair of US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen became the new chair of the US Federal Reserve on 31 January 2014. Yellen, 67, is the first woman to head the US Federal Reserve in its [...]

Hanna Rosin

Hanna Rosin reviews startling new data that shows women actually surpassing men in several important measures, such as college graduation rates. Do these trends, both US-centric and global, signal the "end of men"? Probably not – but they point [...]