22 Inspirational Women to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2022

When you start writing a list like this you immediately notice all the names you’re leaving out – so many women around me are absolute inspirations that I could go on and on! However, I’ve picked out 22 women who have touched my life over the past year, who I’ve found myself admiring from near or far, and who continue to inspire me. I’ve split this into two groups – choosing some women from my writing world and some from my wider world. Here we go:


Pamela Cook

Pamela is the generous creator and host of the Writes 4 Women podcast, which celebrates and champions women’s writing, and her research and delivery is always astute and insightful. I love listening to these podcasts on my morning walk.

Find Pamela on Facebook, Instagram @w4wpodcast or @pamelacookwrites and at www.writes4women.com

Rae Cairns

I first met Rae a good few years ago when she came to a course I was running at the Sydney Writers Festival. Her book The Good Mother will be released in a few weeks, and her publication story is a shining example of how self-belief, determination and persistence pays off. When Rae couldn’t get the deal she wanted for The Good Mother she self-published it, and it was then short-listed for the Ned Kelly Awards for best debut crime in 2021. As a result, HarperCollins picked it up, and I urge you all to read this engrossing crime story.

Find Rae on Facebook, Instagram @raecairnswrites and at www.raecairns.com

Anita Heiss

Anita is a powerhouse across so many different genres and conversations, and if you follow her online you’ll know she is an outstanding example of self-care as well as always speaking out on important issues. Her amazing work of fiction Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray has been picking up praise and award listings all over the place and is currently longlisted for the Stella Prize, while her updated memoir Am I Black Enough for You? has just been re-released. I did my first ever speaking event with Anita back in 2010 and she went out of her way to be supportive and kind. I’ve been lucky enough to call her a friend ever since.

Find Anita on Facebook, Instagram @dranitaheiss and at www.anitaheiss.com

Rachael Johns

I love the way Rachael connects with her readers, and I’m in awe of how she manages to produce so many great books so quickly! She’s such an entertaining, fun, insightful and positive presence online as well as running one of Australia’s top bookclubs with fellow writer, the equally entertaining and talented Anthea Hodgson. No wonder Rachael and her books have such an ardent following!

Find Rachael on Facebook, Instagram @rachaeljohnsauthor and at www.rachaeljohns.com

Dervla McTiernan

Dervla is a very good friend of mine who writes – as you all know – AMAZING crime fiction! She often mentions her own good fortune in our conversations, but having been close to her for a number of years I can assure you that her work ethic, research and her amazing storytelling abilities, cultivated through years of practice and a rigorous engagement with the craft of writing, all add up to why the whole of Australia is eagerly awaiting the release of The Murder Rule in just a few weeks’ time.

Find Dervla on Facebook, Instagram @dervlamctiernan and online at www.dervlamctiernan.com

Lisa Jewell

Every time Lisa Jewell releases a book I a) set aside a day to read it and b) spend a good while poring over it, analysing how she makes her unique brand of psychological suspense fiction so darn good! Her books are an automatic purchase for me, and I look up to her as a queen of this brilliant genre.

Find Lisa on Facebook and Instagram @lisajewelluk

Shannon Meyerkort

Later this year, Shannon will be releasing a book called Dyslexic Heroes. I was lucky enough to see some draft material and I’m in awe of Shannon’s research and drive to inspire dyslexic children like hers and mine, who often cop a good deal of shaming and difficulty just because their brains are wired differently. I can’t wait to champion this one when it’s released.

Find Shannon on Facebook, Instagram @shannon_meyerkort and at shannonmeyerkort.com

Natasha Lester

Natasha is another good friend and inspiration to me. Over the past year I’ve not only loved watching her books go from strength to strength, but she’s also a talented artist to boot and spends a lot of time championing other women writers.

Find Natasha on Facebook, Instagram @natashalesterauthor and at www.natashalester.com.au

Sarah Wilson

Since I’ve started following Sarah Wilson over the past year there have been a number of times where she has articulated what I’m thinking so well that she’s given me chills. I’m so glad she is leading the charge for climate action as we desperately need strong voices like hers at the forefront – and I love the diversity and insight in all her podcast interviews.

Find Sarah on Facebook, Instagram @_sarahwilson_ and listen to her podcast ‘Wild with Sarah Wilson’

Andrea O’Reilly

Without Andrea’s brilliant academic scholarship around motherhood studies I would have struggled to articulate what I wanted my PhD to be about, but when I found Andrea’s work it all fell into place. Please find her work and read it if you want to take a deep dive into different areas of maternal representation. I particularly love her work on Toni Morrison, another heroine of mine.

Link to Andrea’s books on Amazon

Joanna Penn

I regularly listen to Joanna’s podcast as she covers so many bases across publishing and self-publishing, and I love the mix of news, insight and advice that she offers – it’s pretty amazing that her podcast has been going since 2009! Joanna is essential listening for writers trying to navigate the ever-changing world of writing and publishing.

Find Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn and listen to The Creative Penn Podcast


Priya Murugappan

When Priya and her family were taken from their home in Biloela four years ago and put in detention for visa issues, their lives were turned upside down, and ever since they have been caught in an incomprehensible political game that has been repeatedly shown to be flawed and unjust. I have followed Priya, Nades, Kopica and Tharnicaa’s story for a long time now and Priya always demonstrates dignity, love and compassion as a woman and mother caught up in the most arduous circumstances after simply trying to build a better and safer life for herself in Australia. With an election coming up, it’s all the more important to get this family home to Biloela, where they belong – three of them have bridging visas already, but Tharnicaa, four years old, has been denied one, keeping them in community detention in Perth.

Follow @hometobilo on Twitter or go to https://www.hometobilo.com to learn more.

Angela Fredericks

Angela is one of the champions of the #HometoBilo campaign, working tirelessly for Priya and her family. She and the women around her are shining examples of what love and friendship can do for others, as their support has ensured that politicians cannot turn the spotlight away from the injustices being done to the Murugappan family.

Follow @hometobilo on Twitter or go to https://www.hometobilo.com to learn more.

Shannon Algar

I listened to Shannon, a mathematician, at a TEDX Kings Park event last year, and she was able to articulate and demonstrate the critical need for climate change action in the clearest way I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been watching environmentalists talk about climate change for a loooong time). Follow her on Twitter @shannonalgar and watch her talk online on YouTube.

Catrina Aniere

Cat is the founder and CEO of Millennium Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that works to educate and support young people to find their voice on environmental issues and make positive change in the world. Since my daughter has become involved in MK, her confidence and insight has increased so much, and Cat is always on hand to offer her support and remind her of the importance of taking care of yourself and having fun while trying to help the planet!

Follow Millennium Kids on Facebook, Instagram @millenniumkids and go to www.millenniumkids.com.au

Dorinda Cox

Dorinda Cox is a Greens senator and local Yamatji-Noongar woman – a champion for people and the environment, fighting for so many of the issues I care about. Dorinda was one of the first to get on Zoom and offer my daughter support when she began looking into the plight of the little penguins on Penguin Island in WA last year.

Learn more about Dorinda on Facebook or on the Greens website.

Grace Tame

The way Grace Tame speaks truth to power makes me want to stand up and cheer. It takes courage and conviction NOT TO SMILE at those in power, and I can’t thank her enough for the example she is setting to me and my daughters.

Find Grace on Instagram and Twitter @tamepunk or go to www.thegracetamefoundation.org.au

Brittany Higgins

The amount that Brittany Higgins has taken on and endured over the past few years to try to get justice for herself and so many others is incredible, and like her friend Grace Tame she is someone I will stop and listen to every single time she speaks. Brittany is making important change in the world by refusing to sit down and be quiet, and because she has been prepared to go through the trauma of telling her story so that it might help others.

Find Brittany Higgins on Instagram @brittanyhiggins__ and Twitter @BrittHiggins_

Olivia Vivian

My daughter is obsessed with the Ninja Warrior show and does her own ninja training – and Olivia Vivian’s ability to compete with the strongest men in the arena is a constant inspiration for us all. When you follow her online you realise the enormous amount of dedication and training it takes to keep performing at your very best, and it’s amazing to watch the way Olivia continually controls and strengthens her body.

Find Olivia on Instagram @oliviavivian

Jenna Kutcher

I love listening to Jenna Kutcher talk about anything from marketing to body image to photography to motherhood. Jenna’s just living her best life and sharing what she learns so inclusively that it makes everything feel possible.

Find Jenna on Facebook, Instagram @jennakutcher and at jennakutcher.com

Sofie Seyah

Sofie is a local Perth artist who creates amazing illustrations of marine life. When we got chatting to her at a local market she told me she was dyslexic, and since then my daughter, also dyslexic, has been completely inspired by her and we always look out for her work. I love watching creative people make successful businesses out of their passions.

Find Sofie on Facebook, Instagram @sofie_seyah or go to www.sofieseyah.com

My friend Pippa

My dear friend Pippa has been in hospital for most of this year, and through the tremendous challenges of late she has embodied courage, authenticity, and determination. One of the very best things about women is the way we love and support one another. Thanks for being there for me over the past year, Pippa, and I’m glad I can be here for you now.