52 Weeks of Women – September

 In 52 Weeks of Women

52 Weeks of women is a weekly series of posts allowing us to rediscover the important role that women have played in history. To find out a little more about what we are doing or why visit  Introducing 52 Weeks of Women.

To begin our series we present you with Mary Riebey, Queen Nzinga, Margaret Hamilton and Millicent Fawcett. We hope that each post will prompt you to read more, and if you do we’d love you to share what you find out! Likewise, if you know of any women who you think should be included in our series, let us know.

Mary REIBEYHer unassuming face (as seen in this, the only known painting of her, which was used as the reference for her portrait on the $20 note) belies her strong character: she was known to conduct her business affairs with ‘vigour’, and once faced charges for assaulting one of her debtors with an umbrella!

From convict to co-founder of Westpac, all while raising 7 children single-handed. I must admit I was impressed by the achievements of Gail Kelly, but this lady predates her by  150 years.

Want to hear the story? Try the following links to learn more about this formidable women.




Queen NzingaShe was 40 before she hit her leadership stride, but when she did Queen Nzinga held off the Portuguese for 40 years until her death at 80, and kept her people safe from capture and slavery throughout that time.

While you are digging around in the stories of her reign, keep an eye out for how she dealt with the patronising Portuguese who offered her a grass mat to sit on rather than a chair.

Want to hear the story? Try the following links to learn more about this sassy and strategic leader.



If you love a good podcast this is a ripping 53 minutes of the life and times of Queen Nzinga from the history chicks


Margaret HamiltonIn an age when it seems two steps forward, one step back when it comes to women in STEM Margaret Hamilton nee Heafield has to be recognised.

Her leadership was crucial to the success of the Apollo mission, insisting on attention to detail,  systems and processes, testing and retesting. Not only did Apollo work even when things went wrong, but the code her team wrote was so good NO software bugs were ever found on an Apollo crewed mission and the code was reused and adapted on many other space endeavours.

When looking up her story keep an eye out for the great photo of her standing next to her handwritten computer code that took ‘man to the moon’, the role that local seamstresses played in translating the code into the spaceship and how she rose to the challenge (early in her career) when given a seemingly cruel and impossible problem to solve with directions written in Latin and ancient Greek).

Want to hear the story? Learn more about this brilliant, dedicated engineer with a very dry sense of humour.





Millicent FawcettMillicent was a moderate suffragist, who believed that constitutional change, argument and involving men in the fight to get women the vote. Her approach often conflicted with the more militant suffragettes like Emily Pankhurst.

Her story raises interesting questions about how we most effectively achieve social change. Should we protest and disrupt, or reason and engage? What is the role of timing and environmental events in enabling or preventing change?

Keep an eye out for her take on the strategic dilemma of whether to support the war effort in World War I in light of the unfulfilled struggle for the vote.

Want to hear more? Learn about this eloquent communicator and clear headed strategist with a knack for political collaboration.






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52 Weeks of Women - October