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The Weekly

Women of the Future: Why 2021 is just the start for incredible women around Australia like Ash Barty, Grace Tame and more

This year marks a galvanising moment for Aussie women.

By Samantha Trenoweth
What a year it's been! When Grace Tame stood up to accept her award as Australian of the Year, it was a galvanising moment in a remarkable 12 months for women in Australia and the world over.
Indeed Grace, who was recognised for her courage and tenacity in advocating on behalf of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, stood out from an all-women field.
In 2021, our Australian of the Year, our Senior Australian, our Young Australian and our Local Hero are all women. And that's just the start.
The past year has seen joyous highs like Ash Barty's gutsy win at Wimbledon as well as moving, historic moments.
Who could forget the impact of Ash Barty's incredible Wimbledon win? (Getty)
The first female Vice-President of the United States, Kamala Harris, was sworn in at an inauguration where the new President was upstaged by not one woman, but two, as 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman took the stage in a canary yellow coat and blew the world away with her words.
There have been tough battles and difficult conversations.
Chanel Contos incited an education revolution after she revealed the epidemic of sex assaults in our nation's schools.
Thousands of women marched on Parliament House in Canberra, and in other cities, calling for an end to gendered violence.
In the nation's capital, former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins spoke bravely about her own alleged sexual assault and the failings in Australia's most powerful workplace that allowed such behaviour to be dismissed.
At the time of writing, the federal government has just announced it will make sweeping changes in Parliament House.
Journalist Samantha Maiden, who first reported Brittany's allegation, said the government's move was a testament to Brittany's work, but added: "It's wrong and maddening that it took her telling her personal story to create this momentum for change, but all staff at Parliament House have her to thank for these historic reforms."
Brittany praised Samantha for championing her.
Brittany Higgins spoke bravely about her own alleged sexual assault. (Getty)
Similarly, Grace praised the creator of the #LetHerSpeak campaign, Nina Funnell, saying people who listened to her "made all the difference".
Amid the groundswell of action, there has been one constant thread: success is not achieved alone.
After she won Wimbledon, Ash Barty said she hoped she had made her friend and mentor, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, proud.
All these stories show the importance of women amplifying, supporting and lifting each other up.

And it has never been more important to do it.
Previous winners have taken the encouragement and the prize money they received from the Women of the Future Awards and achieved extraordinary things.
Tech entrepreneur Marita Cheng won in 2015 for her telepresence robot, Teleport.
Since then she has run her own company, Aubot, and created the Aipoly vision app.
Tech entrepreneur Marita Cheng won in 2015. (Supplied)
In 2019 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and has just been named one of the world's most influential women engineers, alongside a Nobel Prize winner and three former NASA astronauts.
Also in 2019, young inventor Macinley Butson won a Women of the Future Award for her breast radiation shield, and went on to be named among Forbes' 30 under 30 Asia – a list of the brightest young entrepreneurs and leaders in the region.
That same year, fashion maverick Courtney Holm was a Women of the Future winner, and in 2020 she took out the Australian Fashion Laureate Sustainable Innovation (Emerging Designer) award.
Our Awards have changed the lives of young scientists, filmmakers, philanthropists, designers, engineers, and the list goes on.
Fashion maverick Courtney Holm was a Women of the Future winner in 2019. (Supplied)
Last year's winner, Anna Robertson, is the creator of a trailblazing, socially responsible fashion label, YEVU Clothing, in Ghana.
Even through COVID, she has been able to employ more women this year and redouble her efforts to combat period poverty.
It is not just the prize money, the public profile or the formal mentorship attached to the Awards that have given these young women such a boost.
The annual Women of the Future Awards lunch and ceremony offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet some of the most influential women in Australia in an encouraging, supportive environment.
Here many of the finalists have struck up informal mentorships, friendships and career opportunities that have lasted long after the ceremony ends.
Anna Robertson, is the creator of a trailblazing, socially responsible fashion label, YEVU Clothing, in Ghana. (Supplied)
The Australian Women's Weekly Women of the Future Awards champion young women aged 18 to 34 who want to make their mark on the world.
If you are such a woman, or you know such a woman, the opportunities that these Awards provide could change your life – and the lives of those your work touches.
Entries are open now – click here for all the details.
Read more in the September Issue of The Australian Women's Weekly on sale now.

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