International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also bringing attention to the ongoing fight for gender equality. Ahead of March 8, AAP picture researcher Kristen Daly highlights twelve times women made a difference in Australia and abroad over the past year.
To see more images of inspirational women in the public eye, view our curated #IWD2020 image gallery.
Jacinda Ardern shows strong leadership after Christchurch mosque shooting
March 2019: After the Christchurch mosque shooting, in which 50 people died, New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern won international praise for comforting the survivors with a natural warmth and empathy not often seen in political leaders. She then oversaw the passage of gun reform laws less than a month after the attack. Image by New Zealand Prime Minister Office via AP/AAP. See more images like this.
Tayla Harris stuns with The Kick, pushes back against trolls
March 2019: A viral photograph of AFLW player Tayla Harris performing a stunning airborne kick sparked a wave of offensive comments, as well as praise for her athleticism. Harris brushed the criticism off and became a symbol for many of the skill and perseverance of women in sport. Image by David Crosling for AAP. See more images like this.
Lizzo makes fans feel Good As Hell with self-love message
April 2019: The American singer, songwriter and flautist Lizzo released her debut album Cuz I Love You, which quickly climbed the charts and later scored her three Grammy Awards. She also won acclaim for championing a refreshingly unapologetic message of self-love and body positivity. Image by Chris Pizzello for AP/AAP. See more images like this.
Ash Barty ascends to number one spot in women's tennis
June 2019: The Barty Party kicked off in earnest last year when Ashleigh Barty, a 23-year-old Indigenous player from Queensland, became the first Australian woman in 46 years to win the French Open. Her victory at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham then propelled her to the world number one spot. Image by Yoan Valat for EPA/AAP. See more images like this.
Jessica Meir and Christina Koch complete first all-women spacewalk
October 2019: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history last year when they conducted a spacewalk without a male crewmate alongside them. Image by NASA via EPA/AAP. See more images like this.
Australian women win landmark case over faulty pelvic mesh implants
November 2019: A band of Australian women made headlines for winning a seven-year-long case against the multinational Johnson & Johnson Group, whose defective vaginal implants left hundreds in debilitating pain. Image by Joel Carrett for AAP. See more images like this.
Tones and I smashes Aria chart record with megahit Dance Monkey
November 2019: Once a busker on the streets of Byron, Tones and I hit the jackpot with her international hit Dance Monkey. The pop earworm set a new record in November as the longest-running Aria chart-topper after spending 16 consecutive weeks in the top spot. Image by Brendon Thorne for AAP. See more images like this.
Esther Duflo wins economics Nobel for work fighting poverty
December 2019: Economists Abhijit Banerjee, Michael Kremer and Esther Duflo's work in fighting global poverty won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize, making Duflo only the second female economics winner in the prize's 50-year history, as well as the youngest at 46. Image by Christine Olsson for TT News Agency/EPA/AAP. See more images like this.
Sanna Marin becomes Finland's PM and youngest serving world leader
December 2019: Sanna Marin, then Finland's transportation minister, was selected by her Social Democratic party to step up as the country's youngest prime minister ever at 34 years old. Upon taking office she also became the world's youngest serving prime minister. Image by Alessandro Della Valle for EPA/AAP. See more images like this.
Margot Robbie scores second Oscar nom and makes strides as a producer
January 2020: Aussie star Margot Robbie scored a second Oscar nomination, this time in the category of best actress in a supporting role for her performance in Bombshell. Through her co-founding role at LuckyChap Entertainment she has also pushed for more women-led films in Hollywood. Image by Sebastian Nogier for EPA/AAP. See more images like this.
Vanessa Nakate fights for recognition of women of colour in climate activism
January 2020: When climate activist Vanessa Nakate called out Associated Press, a partner of AAP's, for cropping her out of a photo with Greta Thunberg and other peers, she sparked a wider conversation about diversity in the movement for action on climate change. The agency has since apologised. Image by Markus Schreiber for AP/AAP. See more images like this.
Celeste Barber captures the national mood with massive bushfire fundraiser
January 2020: As devastating bushfires raged across NSW, Victoria and other parts of the country, comedian Celeste Barber inspired people across Australia and the world to donate a mind-blowing $52 million to the NSW Rural Fire Service and those affected by the crisis. Image by Joel Carrett for AAP. See more images like this.
Twelve other women who inspired us this year:
Katie Bouman, the American computer scientist whose work led to the first black hole photo
Hannah Green, the Australian golfer who took out the Women's PGA Championship
Sally Fitzgibbons, crowned world number one in women's surfing after winning the Rio Pro
Belinda Teh, a Perth woman who walked 4500km in honour of her mum who died from breast cancer
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the Emmy-winning actor and writer behind cult comedy hit Fleabag
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist who inspired kids to strike for the environment
Simone Biles, the legendary American gymnast who set a new world championship medal record
Billie Eilish, the youngest solo performer to win the Grammy for album of the year
Awkwafina, the first performer of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe in a lead actress film category
Izzy Raj-Sepping, dubbed Australia's Greta Thunberg after footage spread of her facing police at a climate protest
Ellyse Perry, ICC's Cricketer of the Year and third-time winner of the Belinda Clarke Award
The Silence Breakers, a group of woman who spoke out about disgraced producer and now convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein
In addition to the local coverage, AAP Photos also supplies images, videos and graphics from our global partners. You can find out more about our image partners here.
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