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  • Writer's pictureDr Maike Neuhaus

Who Run The World? Girls: 10 Women Who Embody Epic Self-Leadership (Part 1)

Without getting on a downhill spin about the patriarchal society we live in and depressing statistics like the gender pay gap (which currently sits at 14.2%), let’s take a moment to reflect that to get to this point in time there has been a long line of activists and feminists that have paved the way.

I mean, at one point in time women couldn’t even VOTE. And here we are, almost earning as much as men, and with a full say on election days. Who would have thought..!?

Imagine being those women though – the ones who stepped outside of the ‘typical’ social/cultural/societal norms and didn’t do what they were ‘expected’ to do. The ones listening and acting on their inner self-leader.

So, let’s take a moment to celebrate and appreciate the modern women who embody epic self-leadership skills – many of whom have opened doors and provided opportunities to all of us through the impact they have had on systems, media, perceptions and cultural expectations.

These are women who are following their true callings, navigating their way to their own version of success, and standing tall and proud – particularly in the face of adversity and public backlash to stand by the choices that are right for them – regardless of what anyone else thinks.

What. A. Boss.

Originally this article was going to be three women…then 5… and I finally had to cap it at 10 – there are just SO MANY amazing women doing incredible things in the world – I wish I could champion them all! But here are 5, and stay tuned for Part 2, with another 5 incredible women – in no particular order!

You ready?

Who Run The World? Girls: 10 Women Who Embody Epic Self-Leadership (Part 1)
Who Run The World? Girls: 10 Women Who Embody Epic Self-Leadership (Part 1)

1. Turia Pitt – Writer, Entrepreneur, Spokesperson

Turia is a household name in Australia, and she has not just survived great tragedy in her life, but thrived. In her words: “While competing in a 100km ultramarathon, I was caught in a grassfire. I was choppered out of the remote desert barely alive, with full thickness burns to 65% of my body. I lost seven fingers, had over 200 medical procedures and spent two gruelling years in recovery. Surviving against overwhelming odds, I’ve rebuilt my life and defied every expectation placed on me.”

If Turia’s story is not the embodiment of resilience and self-leadership, I don’t know what is. You can feel her energy and hunger for life through her website ( Some unsolicited advice – sign up for her weekly letters to bring joy and motivation to your day.

2. Rosie Batty – Australian of the Year (2015)

She has forever changed the awareness and dialogue around domestic violence, and highlighted how pervasive and undiscriminating it is – and how devastating it can be. Rosie lost her son, Luke, when he was 11-years-old, at the hands of his father in a very public assault.

Instead of hiding away in the shadows, Rosie has put domestic violence on the national agenda, created awareness and real systemic change. Her capacity for strength, resilience, purpose and courage has made Australia a better place.

3. Simone Biles – Olympic Gymnast

This 24-year-old and 19-time world champion already had 4 gold medals in her back pocket from the Rio Olympics when she went to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Her incredible story of determination (she has been training since she was 6!), and perseverance is made even more spectacular by the fact she is a survivor of sexual abuse – by someone known and trusted – former USA Gymnastics Doctor, Larry Nassar.

Simone’s story of withdrawing from her finals in Tokyo (and continuing to wholeheartedly cheer her teammates on) embodies resilience and self-leadership – choosing to trust herself and her instincts, regardless of what anyone else thinks, says or infers from her decisions. Her self-knowledge at her core highlights the difference between saying ‘no’ out of fear, and stepping into ‘no’ with power.

4. Naomi Osaka – Tennis Player

Another inspirational sportswoman, Naomi was the first Asian tennis player to be ranked no. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, and the first Japanese-born player to win a grand slam. She is one of the top athletes in the world, having won two Grand Slam titles in the past 3 years. However, she has received just as much spotlight for her actions off the court.

She copped serious backlash for choosing not to attend a press conference (one in seven years on tour), with the intention of self-care and preservation of her mental health at the forefront of this decision. By going against the grain with this simple action, and backing herself and her choices she is now an advocate for athlete mental health. In an article she wrote for Time magazine she said “I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.”2

5. Annabel Crabb – Political Journalist, Commentator and TV Host

If I had to listen to someone talk all day, it would be Annabel (especially to Leigh Sailes, her co-host on Chat 10, Looks 3 podcast), simply for the breadth and depth of her knowledge and topics of interest ranging from books, media and culture, politics, and cooking! She has authored articles, books and cookbooks (one with a very appealing title to me – “Special Guest - Recipes for the happily imperfect host”).

Annabel has a history as a political journalist and commentator and has had a significant impact on societal gender perceptions and expectations, particularly that of women in the workforce, and the alarming statistics that surround the paid and unpaid work that the modern woman does. She has affected legislative change, such as for same-sex marriages, and approached things differently – like interviewing politicians in their own house while cooking (Kitchen Cabinet).

Annabel’s work is diverse and draws attention to aspects of society that are often unquestioned and inherent, and by doing so has had a significant impact on cultural and societal gendered expectations and inequality. Along the way, of course there are critics, because she does things differently. In her own words in an article from the ABC: "I don't really care [what people think], I'm doing what I want to do and I'm doing what I'm interested in." If that doesn’t sum up some epic self-leadership, I don’t know what does.

Stay tuned for our next article, highlighting another 5 impactful women, doing great things in the world. Do you want to meet other like-minded women harnessing their self-leadership skills? The waitlist is now open for our next FRESH START group – due to open in January 2022 – the perfect time for a FRESH START!

And, if you are looking for more tools and tips to help you towards your health and happiness goals and want a cheer squad along the way (who doesn’t!?), join our beautiful community on our socials – we’d love to have you. Don’t forget to sign up to my monthly newsletter too, and get free access to our most recent free self-leadership resource.

Maike x


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