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Australian Women with Drive

A woman with drive is discerning, intelligent and driven.  She is a role model and someone that inspires others.  There’s no denying there are so many deserving women of this caliber in Australia and in honour of Australia Day, what better time to acknowledge some of Australia’s most inspirational women.


In no particular order, here are our Top 10 Australian women with drive:


1.  Sarah Murdoch

Model, actress, television presenter and humanitarian – is there anything this woman cannot do?  Sarah’s dedication and work for the National Breast Cancer Foundation is truly inspiring.  Since 1997 Sarah has worked with the NBCF and became Patron in 2001.  She has launched a number of prominent campaigns for the foundation including Pink Ribbon and over the last few years has seen an increase in funding invested into research rise from $11million to $18.8million.  Since joining the NBCF there also been a reduce of the number of deaths caused by breast cancer which has decreased from 30% down to 10%.


2.  Cate Blanchett

Aside from being one of the most graceful and elegant women in the world, Cate is also intelligent, motivated and a great role model.  She has spoken passionately about women’s rights and the pressures that women face in Hollywood to fit a certain mould.  Cate has been awarded one Academy Award, two BAFTA awards, three Golden Globes and is currently up for Best Actress in this year’s Oscars for her performance in Blue Jasmine. 


3.  Gail Kelly

Gail Kelly is a prime example of women dominating in typically male-dominated industries.  Gail was the first woman in Australia to be appointed as CEO of a major bank and has held the top job since 2005.  She is highly recognized for her determination and ambition to have women fill 40% of the top managerial positions at WESTPAC, which she achieved well ahead of target.


4.  Anna Bligh

Queensland’s first Premier Anna Bligh is one serious woman with drive.  While Premier, her efforts with the Queensland floods during 20110-2011 moved the nation.  But it was her very public battle with cancer last year that further demonstrated how inspiring Anna is.  She dared to bare all in a confronting photoshoot for the Australian Women’s Weekly’s 80th edition, where she had no hair. Anna joked to AWW that she hoped she could be like Sinead O’Connor and make bald hair sexy, she certainly did!


5.  Portia de Rossi

Portia and her wife Ellen DeGeneres are strong supporters of a number of charity organisations and regularly adopt abused animals.  She has been a strong advocate of gay and lesbian rights and also raised awareness of eating disorders after she suffered from anorexia during her days on TV show Ally McBeal. Plus we absolutely love her in the TV show Arrested Development – it showcases her keen sense of comic timing.


6.  Leigh Sales

Leigh is a recognized author and journalist and the current host of ABC’s flagship news and 7:30 report.  Leigh has covered a number of major events in Australia and around the world including: the 2013 federal election, the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina.  Leigh has been awarded the Walkley Award twice during her career for excellence in journalism.  She was recognised in 2005 for reporting on Guantanamo Bay and again in 2012 for her 7:30 political interviews.


7.  Susan Barton

With six children of her own, Susan Barton has continued to care for her own children, as well as two adoptees, grandchildren and many other young people in need.  For the last 25 years, Susan has provided care, housing, education and support to numerous children and continued her efforts by establishing the Lighthouse Foundation. Susan’s aim is to end youth homelessness and continues to work towards this goal, having helped over 700 young people within the Lighthouse Foundation to this day.


8.  Ita Buttrose

Magazine mogul Ita Buttrose is a savvy and hard-hitting businesswoman.  With Sir Frank Packer on her side, Ita founded Cleo magazine in 1972 to compete with American magazine Cosmopolitan.  The magazine was an instant success and revolutionary for Australian media, featuring the first-ever male centerfold. In January 2013, Ita received the Australian of the Year Award for her efforts in advocating medical education and health care.  She uses her high profile to raise awareness for breast cancer, prostate cancer, HIV/AIDs, Alzheimer’s and more.      


9.  Stephanie Gilmore

Five-time world champion and Australian professional surfer Stephanie Gilmore is the queen of the sea.  Apart from being extremely skilled on a surfboard, Stephanie is also on the Board of Advisors for an ocean conservation organization, Sea Shepard Conservation Society.


10.   Sonia Kruger

Dancing her way into public life, Sonia has continued to entertain Australia with her energetic, vibrant and witty personality. Since the show was axed in 2008, Sonia has helped re-launched Big Brother onto Australian screens.  The show had a very successful year in 2012 and confirmed it would be back for at least another two series.

Also, if anyone can look glamourous wearing a fruit-covered bra and pile of sequins while being twirled around the dance floor, they deserve to be on this list!


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