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19 of the most powerful moments for women in 2019

19 of the most powerful moments for women in 2019


BY Sophie Overington, 27 min READ

We loved waking up to the news that Greta Thunberg has just been named Time Person of the Year. And it’s fitting too, given we’re celebrating some of the huge milestones women moved this year.  Read on and be inspired all over again by these incredible women. 

1. Greta Thunberg rose up to be the legend we didn’t know we needed.

It wouldn’t be a reflection on 2019 if Greta wasn’t included. Starting her protest in 2018 as a solo figure outside the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, 2019 has seen Greta mobilise the entire globe (over 4 million people on one day alone) to get incensed over inaction on climate change – with future generations leading the charge. She’s been picked on for her blunt nature and Asperger’s Syndrome, and yet she hung out with Leonardo Di Caprio and been named Time Person of the Year – so I think we know who the real winner is here.

2. Jacinda Ardern cemented her place as every country’s #primeministergoals

If there’s one job we wouldn’t envy, it would be to lead a country in a time of crisis. Yet during the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Christchurch in March this year, Jacinda responded with both strength and empathy, showing the best side of both her head and her heart. She mourned with the victims, covering all families funeral costs regardless of their immigration status. She cried. She wore a headscarf in respect to Muslim families. Let’s also remember, she’s just 39 (New Zealand’s youngest ever leader) and has a two-year-old child. She hasn’t just re-written the script for how to lead with compassion, she’s penned a whole damn Pulitzer-prize winning novel.

3. The Matildas took on the equal pay battle, and won

In a monumental agreement from Football Federation Australia and Professional Footballers Australia and a landmark moment in Australian sporting history, both the Matildas and the Socceroos teams will receive an equal share of national team generated revenues. The Matildas also received a well deserved pay rise to match that of the top Socceroos – now that’s worth strapping up your boots for! Other Aussie sporting leagues, take note (cough, AFL).


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Congratulations @matildas on a great win ✅ record crowd attendance ✅ and making history for women’s football with equal pay ✅

A post shared by rebel football (@rebelfootball) on

4. Taylor Harris’s viral kick was immortalised in bronze at Federation Square

It’s likely you were familiar with her inner thigh and groin region before you knew her name, but now it’s a name not to be forgotten. The perfectly timed photo of AWFL Carlton star Taylor Harris gravity-defying kick drew global attention for all the wrong reasons. Instead of marvelling at her athleticism and flexibility (and the goal that came at the end of the kick), vile comments came flooding in about the 21 year-old, before being controversially removed by 7 News where it was originally posted. Not to let haters ruin a good thing, the image sparked a national conversation about the treatment of women and eventuated in the statue which reads, “not just a kick.”. Thank you, trolls – now, go and do the splits IN THE AIR before you decide to say anything else derogatory.

5. Alicia Keys kicked off the Grammys with a celebration of music and sisterhood

Repeat after Alicia – the spotlight is best when shared. When opening the Grammys, Alicia decided to mix it up and bring out the best goddamn line-up of powerful ladies she could – none other than J.Lo, Michelle Obama, Jada Pinkett Smith and Lady Gaga, and we were there for it. It’s great (and necessary) to shine and celebrate your own wins, but there’s no denying that sharing the light allows others to be part of the story and share the message.  


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Celebrating friendship and empowering women through music. #GalentinesDay

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6. Melanie Perkins took her unicorn to the next level

A $125 million dollar fundraising round took Australian tech company Canva’s valuation to a whopping $4.7 billion. Some might find it hard to believe that founder Melanie Perkins is only 33. Some might find it ever harder to believe that her and her co-founder and fiance Cliff Obrecht are still together after 12 years in business together. 


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Today’s featured innovator: the amazing @melaniecanva, Co-Founder & CEO of @canva. • The path to $1B was a windy one… Along the way, Melanie dropped out of college, did several rounds of 3 months here and there in the Bay Area (coming from Australia), and hustled hard for 3 years to secure funding and a great team. She candidly discusses her challenges dealing with culture shock, coming from Australia to Silicon Valley – the norms around self-promotion in the U.S. radically differ from the Australian customs, making it a big push for Melanie to promote herself and her accomplishments so openly. “It was three years between first pitching to an investor and actually landing investment,” she says. “This is an incredibly long period of time, and we had hundreds of rejections along the way.” Nevertheless, she and her team learned to use the roadblocks and rejections as growth tools, and utilized the time to seriously refine their pitch and finesse their strategy so they were ready to execute quickly once they received funding. • Now worth more than $1B (one of the few female-founded unicorns!), Canva’s easy-to-use (and largely free) software helps democratize design for all. Cheers to Melanie and her team for spreading the gift of great design ✨ #WomensHistoryMonth #WomenInInnovation photocredit 📸: @huffpost

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7. A film about periods won an Oscar

Period. End of Sentence, a film that not only mentions periods, menstruation and sanitary products, but is dedicated to them, won a bloody Oscar (pun intended). In her acceptance speech, Melissa Burton said “periods should end a sentence, not an education,” and we couldn’t agree more. 

8. The world discovered a new Einstein – and she’s an eight-year-old girl from Mexico

Adhara Perez is not to be underestimated. With an IQ higher than both Einstein and Stephen Hawking and having already finished high school, she was recently featured in Forbes Mexico’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Mexico list – a ranking we estimate she’ll maintain for at least the next 60 years or so.

9. The fearless girl headed Down Under for International Women’s Day

Originally installed in NYC in front of the famous Charging Bull statue in New York’s financial district, the 1.27m bronze fearless girl and her juxtaposition with a huge ol’ bull swiftly became a symbol of gender equality and a selfie favourite. A replica paid a visit to Melbourne, and her message spread – “until she’s there, stand for her.’


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The “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street was created for Women’s History Month. State Street Global Advisors installed “Fearless Girl” in an effort to inspire more companies to add more women to leadership roles. They also sent a letter to 3,500 companies urging them to add more women to their boards. Did you know that from those companies 1/4th of them don’t have any women on their boards at all? The temporary statue received so much love, New York City decided to make her permanent. Oringinally she was put right in front of the iconic wallstreet charging bull statue. When I visited this “Fearless Girl” myself, I got emotional. Seeing her stand with such confidence right in front of the “Charging Bull” reminded me of what I’m most passionate about- women/girls and the role they can play in this world. When I was there, mostly women were gathered around the girl and mostly men were gathered around the bull. One woman next to me in her late fifties started to cry. The men at that particular time I chose to visit were all posing with the bull, and many of them wanted to be photographed grabbing the bulls balls. The circle of women gathered around the little girl were so overcome with emotion… many started to cry, leaving many of their sweet husbands left trying to comfort them. Watching this dynamic only reminded me that there is so much left to be done in the world. When the majority of men wake up and also feel as passionate as the women do about the role women could be playing for the greater whole, only then will the world reach its greatest potential.. We need both. And to the men out there that have been feeling this, and advocating for women and girls, God bless your evolved souls. We thank you. It’s not going to happen without you. So for all the ladies out there, being an empowered woman starts with being a fearless girl. Let’s all be fearless and courageous together. #FemaleEmpowerment #WomenSupportingWomen #FearlessGirl #MenSupportingWomen #BetterWorld #MondayMotivation

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10. AOC showed that superheroes DO wear capes

Why comment on a powerful women’s outfit choices over her achievements when you can do both? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) joined the Democratic Women’s Working Group at her first State of the Union in a now iconic white cape, paying homage to the women’s suffrage movement, and the internet went wild.  


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Walking into #SOTU like . . w/ @cpdaction

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11. NASA completed an all-female spacewalk

United States astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir took some large steps for womankind when they completed the first all-female spacewalk in October. Noting the historic nature of the activity, they lamented how they just wanted this to be normal. To be honest, so do we – soon it’ll just be two ladies going about their business, strolling on the moon making repairs to critical space infrastructure, nothing to see here. You know, the usual work-day stuff.

12. Sandra Oh made history at the Golden Globes

The first person of Asian descent to host the coveted awards celebration; the first women of Asian descent in 39 years to win a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama, and the first woman of Asian descent to win multiple Golden Globes. And probably the first person to thank their parents in Korean and bow to them whilst accepting their award. If it isn’t finally the diversity we’ve all been screaming for in Hollywood. Oh put it clear as day, “I see you, all these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else.” 

13. Ash Barty became world number one after a 43 year drought in Australian women tennis champs

She’s young, she’s powerful, and she’s closed out the year by securing the world number one ranking – and a place in our hearts. Ash Barty, recognised equally for her exceptionally strong tennis and remarkably humble attitude, credits the unconditional love of her parents and her tight knit support group for her success. 

14. A women topped Australia’s CEO pay rank for the first time

The highest paid CEO in Australia in 2019 was a woman, for the first time ever. Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake took out the top spot for CEO pay rank thanks to her $18 million annual paycheck. She was also named one of Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ in the world. She was one of just four women on the list of 50 CEO’s. 

15. Tones and I broke the all-time record for longest stay at #1 on the ARIA Singles Chart

Stealing the spot from Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, Australian artist Tones and I’s hit ‘Dance Monkey’ spent the longest time at the top of the charts since they were created in 1988. She also picked up four ARIA awards to add to her accolades. Using her fame to spread love and reality, Tones and I opened up on Instagram to give fans an insight into the ‘relentless bullying that follows every proud moment’, reminding fans that she’s just a human doing her best.


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People always say “tones how does it feel, it’s must feel great, what are you feeling, you must be over the moon” It does and I don’t want to take anything away from my well deserved achievements and to my fans I love you unconditionally but I have been hiding a big black hole for a while now and feel if I hide it like most artists do then how are we going to help the next generations of young artist to come.. truth is (and we have all seen it) with success comes judgement and opinions, this I was prepared for, it’s normal (which is sickening) but the relentless bullying that follows every proud moment tears my mind in two. I make music, I have chosen to follow my passion in life and stick to it until it stuck to me. I am a very open honest, caring, good person and in the dark times of death threats and very harsh judgements from strangers I have never met, I have decided to push past it and show any artist that you can get through it and maintain your sense of self, even though I don’t see an end in sight, this is how I will live my life now. I am Toni Watson, A female artist from Australia I am going through the best and worst time of my life. And today I am OK. I love you and as always.. we are in this together 🖤

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16. The first image was captured of a supermassive black hole

Dr Katie Bouman, a PhD student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) helped develop an algorithm that led to the image of a black whole being captured for the first time. Though she emphasised she was only a small part of a huge collaborative effort, the viral photo of her reaction to the image is the best reminder to celebrate your wins.

17. The Spice Girls came back to remind us that we always Wannabe enjoying life with our friends

They came, they broke Ticketmaster, and they delivered. Oh man did they deliver (aside from those too Posh to join). In a moment that had us all ugly crying into our Union Jack minis, they closed their final show bringing out their mums and kids on stage – reminding us that family is both your blood and those you surround yourself with over the years. GIRL POWER.


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It felt amazing to be back onstage ❤️✌️🌍 #Spiceworld2019 📸 @timmsy

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18. Aria Stark killed the Night King

The youngest and most fierce of the Stark females somehow managed to defy all logic (even by GOT standards) and defeat the Night King, ending what was possibly one of the most anticipated TV battles of all time. All we could say was, ‘wow’ (and ‘why is one of the most expensive scenes of television and film history so dark we can’t see a darn thing’).

19. Reese and Jen came together to give us the #MeToo movement through TV’s eyes

Reese Witherspoon has been committed to bringing us strong, complex female leads to the screen, and let’s be clear – she’s done it again. If Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon and Steve Carrell on screen together weren’t enough, the show grapples with sexual politics in the media industry workplace, two years after the Harvey Weinsten-induced cultural reckoning. It’s as fascinating as it is entertaining, and it puts women at the centre of it all. Plus, Jen is so absurdly good that we’re left wondering if Friend’s was hiding a truly glorious dramatic actor this whole time.



Phew! What a year. 


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