International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange

8th March marks International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is “be bold for change”.

These women listed here are women who all had different values, beliefs, and experiences but, in spite of oppression, all strove in different ways to make vital change in their time and world.

Explore our books in the library and discover just some of the women from history who have led the charge to make change in the world.

Malala Yousafzai

“Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”



Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist who advocates for the right for all children to receive education after the local Taliban had banned girls from attending school in her native Swat Valley. Having started an anonymous blog for the BBC when she was 11 years old to share her experiences living under the growing Taliban’s influence, she survived an assassination attempt in 2012 and went on to found the Malala Fund, co-authored the international bestseller I am Malala as well as being the subject for the Oscar shortlisted documentary He Named Me Malala. Her campaigning saw her as the recipent for Pakistani’s first National Youth Peace Prize in 2014 and co-reipient for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize as well as becoming the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate.

Find out more at School Resources 920.72 YOU and 954.91 YOU.


Annie Besant

“Someone ought to do it, but why should I? Someone ought to do it, so why not I? Between these two sentences lie whole centuries of moral evolution.”


Annie Besant was a British Socialist known for being a women’s rights activist, as well as a supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule. She was involved with the Bloody Sunday protests in London in 1887 which saw a march against unemployment and coercion in Ireland take place, as well as the London matchgirls strike of 1888 which was a demonstration against poor working conditions in the Bryant and May match Factory.  She later became president of the Theosophical Society in 1907.

 Find out more in our Sybil Campbell collection at REF 920 BES.


Millicent Fawcett

“Courage calls to courage everywhere, and its voice cannot be denied.”

Millicent Garrett Fawcett was pioneer of women’s suffrage, a political and union leader, and writer. She became secretary of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage when she was 19 and later became the leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies going on to write about her experiences. Considered instrumental in gaining the vote for six million women over 30 years old in 1918, she was awarded a damehood in 1925.

Find out more in our Sybil Campbell collection at REF 920 FAW and in our Main Library collection at 396 FAW.


Sojourner Truth

“If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.”

Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and a human and womens’ rights activist who, after escaping slavery with her daughter, became the first black woman to win a court case to recover her son. She went on to preach around the country about the abolition of slavery. One of her most famous speeches was delivered to the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention and was later titled “Ain’t I a Woman?” She was included in Smithsonian magazine’s list of “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time”.

Find out more in our School Resources collection at SR 920.72 SOJ.


Isadora Duncan

“My motto – sans limites.”


Isadora Duncan was an American pioneer of dance. She broke with convention, shunning the traditional constraints of ballet and promoted the idea of free-spiritedness combined with the inspiration of the ancient Greeks. She is known as the “Mother of Modern Dance” and is one of the most enduring and last influences on modern culture.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 792.8 DUN.


Susan Solomon

“We have a beautiful planet, and I feel very privileged to have the chance to work as a public servant in helping the public understand that planet.”

Susan Solomon is an atmospheric chemist and a senior scientist for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She is known for her studies on the ozone and causes of the Antarctic ozone hole and for leading an expedition out to the Antarctic to gather evidence. Her work formed the basis of the U.N. Montreal Protocol. In 1999 she was awarded the National Medal of Science and later in 2012 received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 919.89 SOL.


Jane Addams

“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.”

Jane Addams was a pioneer social worker and known as the “mother” of social work. Inspired after seeing one during a visit to London, she opened a settlement house to provide a centre for a better civic and social life and to improve conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago. She co-founded both Hull House and American Civil Liberties Union and was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1931.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 973.8 DAV.


Aung San Suu Kyi

“You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese politician and the First and incumbent State Counsellor and leader of the National League for Democracy. She was placed under house arrest after speaking out against the dictatorship of Ne Win. She spent a total of 15 years over a 21 year period under house arrest and sacrificed her life with her family to stand by her people. Her efforts saw her receive the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991.

Find out more in our Main Library Collection at 920 AUN.


Fanny Lou Hamer

“You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.”

Fanny Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist who, after attending her first protest meeting in 1962, dedicated herself to fight for civil rights and help with the voter registration efforts. She worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and travelled with them becoming famous for singing hymns to encourage resolve. In 1964 she was instrumental in organising the Mississippi Freedom Summer and was elected vice chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She endured threats, was arrested and beaten, almost fatally and was also shot at in her quest to make change.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 323.11 CRA.


Dorothy Arzner

“Let us not be satisfied with ourselves; climb higher. Do not be earthbound!”

Dorothy Arzner was a pioneering film director and the only major female director during Hollywood’s “Golden Age” of the 1920s and ‘30s. She was also the only female director whose career survived the introduction of sound into films. Having begun her career as a writer and editor and impressing with her resourceful techniques, she later forced Paramount to give her an opportunity at directing by threatening to move studio. She went on to direct four successful silent features before being entrusted with the studio’s first sound film starring Clara Bow.  She is also credited with devising the first boom mike to be used in film.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 791.430233 ARZ


Mother Jones

“You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.”

Mary Harris Jones was a union activist and champion of the working class, campaigning for the Union Mine Workers Union and founded the Social Democratic Party. She believed that women didn’t need the vote to “raise hell”, and would often give speeches to inspire workers during strikes, travelling to various strike sites and helping coal miners and railroad workers. She also fought against child labour and encouraged children to take part in a “Children’s Crusade” after organising a march from Philadelphia to Oyster Bay, New York to demand schooling for children instead of work. Her caring ways earned her the nickname “Mother”.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 331.88 JON.


Harriet Tubman

 “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”


Harriet Tubman was a civil rights activist who became famous as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad during the 1850s. After escaping slavery herself and, despite having a bounty on her head, she returned to the South at least 19 times using the Underground Railroad and a network of antislavery activists and safe houses to lead hundreds of enslaved people to freedom. She also acted as a scout, spy and nurse during the civil war and it was announced last year that she will replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Find out more through our e-book link on our catalogue.


Ida Tarbell

“Imagination is the only key to the future. Without it none exists – with it all things are possible.”


Ida Tarbell was a teacher, writer, and journalist and was considered to be a leading “muckraker” in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. She is now deemed to be a pioneer of investigative journalism after exposing the business practices of John D. Rockefeller in a serialised negative expose. Her research helped develop investigative reporting techniques by using documents and interviews to chronicle her findings and her work is judged to be instrumental to inventing a new form of journalism.

Find out more in our Main Library collection at 071 WHI.