Women making history in 2021

Trailblazing women have continued to pave the way.

Dealing with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy. But for some women, the past year has been a catalyst for positive change. Around the world, women have continued to flourish, having an impact on society, politics and the media. 

From the United States welcoming its first female vice president to a female journalist receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, trailblazing women have continued to pave the way towards justice and equality.

Women in Media Australia has celebrated another successful year. With about 7000 members and a growing community on social media, WiM has connected with women across the country. 

Our highly popular mentoring program, in partnership with Brancher, has connected 44 mentors and mentees.

Our Relaunch Project, backed by the Google News Initiative, is working to support women who have taken a break from the industry and want to return.

These initiatives have opened new doors for women across the industry and Women in Media has been proud to offer resources and training to our growing community.


Impact in 2021

Grace Tame and Clare Bowditch address the National Press Club 

Grace Tame and Clare Bowditch separately delivered addresses to the National Press Club in Canberra.

Grace Tame, recipient of the 2021 Australian of the Year Award and outspoken advocate for survivors of sexual assault, spoke on March 3 in the lead up to International Women’s Day. 

On May 3, Australian musician Clare Bowditch shared her challenges working in the music industry during the pandemic. 

Brooke Littlewood wins Caroline Jones Women in Media Young Journalist’s Award 

Women in Media was excited to announce the fifth recipient of the Caroline Jones Women in Media Young Journalist’s Award.

Brooke Littlewood is an agricultural writer at Farm Weekly and is based in Western Australia.

Brooke Littlewood wins Caroline Jones Award

Kellie Riordan takes out the WiM Queensland Career Boost Scholarship

Kellie Riordan is one of Australia’s leading podcast strategists and the creative lead behind podcasts including Conversations, Ladies We Need To Talk, Judith Lucy Overwhelmed and Dying, Unravel, The Pineapple Project, Short & Curly, and The Eleventh.

She was the founding commissioning editor for ABC Audio Studios and now runs the podcast consultancy and production house Deadset Studios.

Kellie Riordan wins scholarship


Women in Media, in partnership with Brancher, has matched 44 mentees and mentors as part of the highly popular mentoring program

Relaunch Project

The Relaunch Project, sponsored by the Google News Initiative, will be welcoming a group of women to participate in a new program tailored to help them reintegrate into the workplace. This program will be kicking off in 2022. 

Our Growing Community

Women in Media has about 7000 members, reaches almost 35,000 people via social media and has recorded a 22% spike in visitors to our website in the past 12 months.

We launched a new monthly newsletter. You can subscribe here.


Despite the restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, we organised events around the country including celebrations of International Women’s Day.

Virgin Australia managing director Jayne Hrdlicka was the special guest at the end-of-year drinks in Brisbane.

Our state committees staged thought-provoking events where speakers delved into issues including juggling work, life, and side hustles, media diversity, digital dangers, and the policy implications for women against the backdrop of a state election. The states also organised informal events so our community could connect.


Leading the way

Australian of the Year Awards

Four women dominated the Australian of the Year Awards in 2021. Grace Tame, advocate for survivors of sexual assault, was awarded Australian of the Year, alongside Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM (Senior Australian of the Year), Isobel Marshall (Young Australian of the Year), and Rosemary Kariuki (Local Hero). 

L to R: Isobel Marshall, Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, Grace Tame, and Rosemary Kariuki

Kamala Harris 

This year, Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States and first African American and Asian American to hold that office. She was acting president for 85 minutes in November 2021. 

“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” Harris said in her victory speech.

US Vice President Kamala Harris.

Maria Ressa

The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia. Ressa’s work on exposing the abuse of power, use of violence, and growing authoritarianism in the Philippines was recognised by the Nobel committee.

Maria Ressa

Journalist Maria Ressa risks life and liberty

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped down from her role after 16 years. She was the first women to hold that position.

“We’ve still not managed to enthuse enough women for politics,” Merkel told DW.

“We need to work on women having more confidence overall. Because even when there are women present, it’s not like they’re the ones wrangling over the party leadership position.”

Angela Merkel.

Jessica Watkins 

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is poised to become the first African American woman to complete a long-term mission aboard the International Space Station for the forthcoming SpaceX Crew-4 launch. 

“Particularly young girls of colour, to be able to see an example of ways that they can participate and succeed,” Watkins told The New York Times.

“For me, that’s been really important, and so if I can contribute to that in some way, that’s definitely worth it.”

Fiama Naomi Mata’afa

Fiama Naomi Mata’afa has been elected Samoa’s first female Prime Minister, despite the region having one of the lowest rates of female representation in politics anywhere in the world.

The list goes on ….

Here’s to all the women who have made an impact in 2021 whether that has involved homeschooling children while working from home, preparing to head to the International Space Station, volunteering their time to support Women in Media, or joining the ranks of Nobel laureates.

This is dedicated to you.

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