Meet 10 inspirational women from Brisbane

Welcome to Brisbane!

Brisbane is the home of WOW Australia. WOW first took place in Australia in 2013 and has since taken place across the country. Presented by Brisbane-based non-profit company Of One Mind, this ground-breaking organisation curated the Australian women you see in this exhibition. 

Of One Mind’s mission is to develop and support cultural activities that address or communicate pressing social issues, including gender equality. These photos were taken by Mana Salsali.

Conflict: Muna Imad Jaber (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Muna ImadJaber

At the age of 13, Muna had to leave Syria along with their mum and brother due to the family facing severe danger and political conflict. Afterwards they arrived in Australia as refugees. 

Becoming a refugee, witnessing such injustice and being forced to leave their country at such an early age completely changed Muna’s perspectives on the world. Muna became passionate about human rights, freedom of speech, advocating for refugees and sharing awareness of the Syrian crisis.

"I lost members of my family, my friends and my homeland. 

Yet this loss is not mine alone, but is a loss suffered by all refugees, who have lived and suffered the consequences of large-scale conflicts. Conflict is a reprehensible result that continues to arise in many parts of the world and within many homes."

Finance and Economy: Leanne Kemp (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Leanne Kemp

Leanne is a prominent figure in the technology sector and recognised internationally as an innovator and leader. Her company Everledger uses Blockchain technology to track high-value assets such as diamonds, art and wine with the aim of increasing transparency and trust with technology.

"In this new chain incorporating not just supply but value, transparency is elevated into a competitive advantage. The result? A more resilient system better able to respond to disruptive shocks such as pandemics, wars, and climate changes— resiliency that benefits everyone.”

Cultural Life, Arts and Expression: Anisa Nandaula (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Anisa Nandaula

Anisa is a nationally recognised spoken word poet, play writer, educator, author and the 2016 Queensland Poetry slam champion. 

She has performed at the Sydney Opera house, Splendour in the Grass, Queensland Poetry festival and toured the country sharing stories of courage. 

"When we speak of culture, it is the thread that strings our being to lands many of us can never return. It is a manifestation of those lost and those to come. To assimilate and erase this is a loss for all parties. A loss for the carrier and the stranger who could've shared in this gift." 

Climate Change: Dr Esther Onyango (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Dr Esther Onyango

Esther’s work defines her as a holistic thinker, moving beyond discipline-specific boundaries to develop novel ways of addressing the connections between climate change, mosquito borne diseases, the environment and human health. A key aspect of her work is to understand the differential vulnerabilities experienced by women and how to help them cope to climate change impacts.

“We must consider the systemic inequalities and socially constructed gender norms that increase women’s exposure to climate risks, and reduce their agency to cope with and recover from the impacts of climate change. Understanding these differential impacts on women from climate."

Leadership, Power and Politics: Jackie Huggins (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Jackie Huggins

Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman from central and north Queensland. Throughout her career Jackie has been involved in reconciliation, the Stolen Generations, education, arts, leadership, prison reform, domestic and family violence, health, housing, literacy, disability, human rights, women’s issues and other social justice initiatives.

“Leadership is something all women have. We lead in our families, homes, communities and workplaces just to name a few. You don’t have to be in the public eye or the captain of the team to be a leader."

Health: Dr Odette Best (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Dr Odette Best

Dr Best has a long and distinguished career as a registered nurse, an academic and a historian of Aboriginal nurses and midwives. Her PhD research, titled Yatdjuligin: The Stories of Queensland Aboriginal Nurses 1950-2005, explored the journey of six Aboriginal registered nurses across six decades. 

"I uncovered the story of an Aboriginal midwife named May Yarrowick, who trained in 1905 at Crown Street Women's Hospital in Sydney and that fuelled my passion for delving into the history of Aboriginal nurses and midwives...Nursing has been my life and I am proud of this profession; never more so than now."

Peace and Justice: Debbie Kilroy OAM (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Debbie Kilroy OAM

After her release from prison in 1992, Debbie Kilroy OAM established Sisters Inside to fight for the human rights of incarcerated women and girls to address gaps in services available to them and their children. Debbie opened her own legal practice that sits alongside Sisters Inside in 2013. The law firm is a criminal defence practice that advocates for the human and legal rights for people charged with criminal offences. 

"We will only have peace and justice when everyone is given the opportunity to transform, rather than being reduced to the worst thing they have ever done. We will only have peace and justice when land is returned to the Traditional Custodians, and money is reallocated from police and prisons to the community."

Education: Elise Stephenson (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Elise Stephenson

Elise is the co-founder of queer feminist creative agency, Social Good Outpost, she is passionate about creating future-proof societies. Elise is curator of the Youth Entrepreneurs & Leaders Speaker Series, bringing Australian social change to global audiences across topics such as domestic violence, climate change and environmental sustainability, gender equality, LGBTI+ inclusion, and more. 

" order for education to reach all women, men, girls, boys and non-binary folk everywhere, it must meet them where they are. Teach in language and in lore and in land. Communicate with communities on their level and in their time, and walk beside them in the pursuit of their rights, interests, needs and future." 

Domestic Life: Anoushka Dowling (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Anoushka Dowling

Anoushka has a passion for social justice, particularly the promotion of gender equality, the prevention of violence against women and racism and discrimination. She is also a facilitator of a Men’s Domestic Violence Education and Intervention Program, for the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre on the Gold Coast

"Ideas of equality, race, fairness and justice start in the home...Being a cross-cultural adoptee, and a woman of colour, I am fiercely passionate about lessons learned in the home. I work, both personally and professionally, to ensure that we have a world where my children's worth and opportunities will not depend on their gender or their race."

Identity: Olivia Hargroder (2020) by Mana SalsaliWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Olivia Hargroder

Born with Down syndrome, Olivia has never allowed intellectual impairment and years of gruelling surgery stand in her way. Told she would never speak, she uses the gift she was to be denied, advocating for change and equality. She addressed the UN in her quest to have Down syndrome recognised for both its physical and intellectual implications.

"I am more than the sum of my chromosomes. If you just look at my eyes you will not know who I am. If you look into my eyes you may. Told I would never speak, I love to use the gift I was to be denied, advocating for others whose voice is quiet."

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Women of the World
Meet Inspirational Women from around the World
View theme
Google apps