This website has been compiled by Kaye Hargreaves
It all started when I had to name five people who I found inspirational, for my Facebook page. I thought of Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Charles Darwin, Heinz Kohut … but wait a minute – they’re all blokes (that’s what we call men in Australia). Why weren’t there any iconic women coming to my mind? I looked up websites for the top ten women, or the 100 most important women in history, and I wasn’t impressed. Mother Teresa, Cleopatra and Joan of Arc are just not my type. Eventually I decided to add Eleanor Roosevelt, because she played a major role in bringing about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Pretty impressive. And I believe she is under-recognised.
Then I complained to my friend and old feminist stalwart, Mairi Rowan, and we had a brainstorm about high-achieving women. Then I wrote out some fields of achievement – scientists, politicians, artists and so on. Names started to come to mind. Then I got an email from Mairi, containing a list of further names. I transferred it to a Word document and called the document “Mairi’s list”. Gradually I added more names to it, then I started to add information about those women.
As I did my research I became more fascinated by the lives of the many women who had achieved so much throughout the twentieth century (I had decided to limit my scope to that period). They had fascinating life stories, often telling tales of being sidelined and undervalued, but also sometimes celebrated. I do not want this project to be like a mini-Wikipedia. Of course you can get information from that source, but I want to make personal comments about how various women have impressed me or touched my life in some way. I have met some of them, and I am only two degrees of separation from Anna Freud.
I also started to look for and add photographs and portraits of the women on the list. I divided them into Australians and International women, so there is an emphasis on Australian women – but why not, I am an Australian, and we have produced some amazing women.
So my research is continuing. I will start posting information about the women I have learned about so far.
But what better name to give to the project than the one I originally gave my draft document: Mairi’s List, in honour of the friend who really got me going.
Looking forward to receiving your comments and suggestions for name to be added to the list.
Kaye Hargreaves is a feminist and author with a long history of involvement in issues related to violence against women and women’s rights in the workforce. She has an Arts degree in Sociology from Monash University and a Law degree from Melbourne University. She is passionate about international human rights. She has had twenty years of experience as a professional dog trainer, pioneering reward-based and practical training to meet the needs of pet dog owners.