– WOMAN WATCH –
Celebrating success. Highlighting dubious practice.
SALUTE! Ita Buttrose
Ita Buttrose is now 81 years old and has served as ABC chair since 2019. She has announced that she will not seek reappointment to the role when her term ends in March 2024.
In 1972, ‘Cleo’ was launched with Ita Buttrose as the founding editor. It was aimed at women with content that was frank about sexuality and covered political and social issues from a woman’s perspective. Later she was the youngest person to be appointed editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly, which was then, per capita, the largest-selling magazine in the world.
SALUTE! Chief Justice Kiefel
Susan Kiefel is the first woman to serve as the chief justice of the High Court of Australia (appointed 2007). She turns 70 shortly and has announced her retirement.
She left school at 15, worked as a legal secretary and ended up as the highest judge in the land.
SALUTE! Captain Deborah Lawrie
There’s a new bridge at Sydney airport and it goes over the top of Sir Reginald Ansett Drive. So why does this give Captain Deborah Lawrie a bit of a giggle? She was the first female commercial pilot in Australia and is currently the oldest female commercial pilot in the world. However, she had to go to the Equal Opportunity Commission, in the first sex discrimination case ever contested, before she was given a fair go. Watch the short news video (4.26) that is part of this ABC article.
Michelle Bullock was appointed governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia on 18 September 2023, and is the first woman to hold the role.
Spanish women kick goals!
Soccer midfielder, and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who was part of the Spanish squad that won the Women’s World Cup, called on institutions to show courage and leadership to stop women suffering a lack of respect or abuse.
Brains behind GPT
Mira Murati is an engineer who is currently Chief Technology Officer at OpenAI. She is the brain behind ChatGPT, an AI language model that has revolutionised the way we interact with machines.
Kerri Hartland became Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service in February 2023. This is Australia’s foreign intelligence agency, so it is our version of the CIA.
In 2016, almost 116 years after the establishment of parliament, Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman, became the first indigenous woman elected to federal parliament. She is now Minister for Indigenous Australians in the Albanese ministry.
Olha Bihar was a lawyer in Kyiv while completing her PhD in tax law. Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Now she is an artillery officer with the call sign Witch. She uploads videos to TikTok about life on the front lines to help spread the word about what is happening. See her version of a Nail Salon in the video in this ABC article.
Fancy a good read?
Not Just Black and White: A conversation between a mother and a daughter
by Lesley Williams and Tammy Williams
Published by University of Queensland Press (2015; latest reprint 2022); 333 pages
Edited review by Dr Jennifer Nayler
I was reading at 2.00 a.m. recently to finish ‘Not Just Black and White’. I wanted to make sure I’d read it before I attended an event at which the authors would be speaking. I didn’t need to worry. Once I started reading, I was hooked.
I can understand why the book has collected several awards, including the David Unaipon Award. The book is appealing to readers on many levels. The rich account of life in the Cherbourg State Aboriginal Settlement, during the 50s, 60s and later, is one of heart-breaking control of indigenous lives and of the uplifting and sustaining nature of family love.
The book is set mostly in Queensland with references to Brisbane and to Gympie where I grew up. The book has international settings as well—with the authors travelling to Michael Jackson’s Neverland and to the United Nations in Geneva.
This is a fabulous book. It is a story of struggle, endurance, love and determination to create a better Australia. It is simultaneously a deeply personal story and a universal tale.
AWE supports the vision:
End gender-based violence in one generation.
AUSTRALIA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
- On average, a woman is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days
- One in 3 women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15
- One in 5 women has experienced sexual violence.