On International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating powerful and kind women who are making the world a better place.
From recipe creators who are fighting climate change with diet change, those changing the face of fashion with cruelty-free fabrics, entrepreneurs, and activists – meet some of the Australian women working towards a kinder, greener future.
Georgia Smith, Founder, Koori Kitchen
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A proud Gomeroi woman, Georgia Smith promotes vegan eating to Indigenous peoples and other Australians, with a focus on health and sustainability. A recipe creator and wellness influencer, Smith has plans to open an Indigenous bush medicine clinic and café.
Smith is family-oriented and credits her late grandmother, an Aboriginal Elder, with inspiring her journey to bring healthy food to all Australians.
Since meat-eating is associated with heart disease and a higher risk of some cancers – not to mention being responsible for the deaths of some 4.9 billion land and sea animals annually in Australia – Smith’s work is truly lifesaving.
Cathryn Wills, Founder, Sans Beast
For much of her career, Cathryn Wills worked in the world of leather bags (made from cows), but she became increasingly aware of her own disconnect when it came to loving animals and using them, leading her to found Sans Beast.
Wills’ vision to mingle form and function with compassion is explored through long-wearing pieces designed for women who juggle work and play.
Given that cows are sensitive individuals and doting mothers who are violently abused for their skins – often after enduring harrowing live-export journeys – it’s little wonder the feminist in all of us is drawn to vegan alternatives.
Cassy Judy, Criminal Lawyer, Activist, and Singer/Songwriter
A transgender woman, Cassy Judy is a criminal lawyer who offers legal aid to marginalised communities in Sydney while juggling activism and performing.
As a musician, Judy describes her style as “Prince meets Aussie Rock, with a healthy dose of comedy”.
Travelling with her guitar, Judy uses her voice to speak up for everyone – from trans people to the horses forced to race in the Melbourne Cup.
She’s also a vegan athlete who undertakes gruelling long-distance ocean swims, putting her in the company of increasing numbers of world-class athletes who are killing it without killing, including tennis star Nick Kyrgios, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and Olympic swimmer Steph Rice.
Heaven Leigh, Owner, Bodhi Restaurant Bar
Heaven Leigh is the first Australian-born member of an immigrant family, and her Malaysian grandparents ran takeaway shops in the 1970s before her mother established Bodhi Restaurant Bar, a stylish eatery famous for its vegan yum cha.
Over the past 27 years, Leigh has continued to grow the restaurant into the longest-established fully plant-based eatery in Sydney, all while being a wife, mother of two (or three, if you count whippet Kenzo), and mentor.
Leigh proves that vegan food can be a spicy, exotic, and delicious way to bring people together. Plus, eating vegan can reduce your food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 73%!
Lara Young and Susan McCarthy, Co-founders, VEats
If you’ve ever tried to order food from a standard delivery app, you know how hard it can be to find vegan-friendly options. Enter VEats, Australia’s first all-vegan food delivery and reservation platform, developed by Lara Young and Susan McCarthy, who, together, have in excess of 30 years’ marketing and business experience.
According to Young, one of the drivers behind the idea was the fact that Australia is among the world’s fastest-growing vegan markets.
That’s good news, especially when you consider that raising animals for food is one of the leading reasons our beloved koala is facing extinction!
Shonagh Stratford, Founder, Sho & Co
A dedicated vegan, Shonagh Stratford started Sho & Co in 2019 with a vision of creating a cruelty-free hair salon that’s also gentle on the planet, recycling everything from aluminium foil to hair clippings.
Sho & Co exclusively uses hair products that are free from animal-derived ingredients and never tested on animals.
This matters, because even though new laws ostensibly prevent cosmetics from being tested on animals in Australia, loopholes in the law still allow for multi-use substances used in cosmetics to be tested on animals. In a nutshell, that means that unless you opt for certified cruelty-free products, you could still be paying for animals to suffer for your haircare.
Aline Dürr, Owner, Vegan Interior Design
When people consider the meaning of “vegan”, they often think about food and then clothing, but what about homewares?
Persuading consumers to furnish their nests more ethically is the mission of Aline Dürr, vegan interior design expert and founder of Australia’s first Vegan Interior Design Week.
Through lush styling and an eye for detail, Dürr helps people rethink the use of wool, leather, fur, and feathers in their homes.
Given that sheep used in the wool industry are routinely subjected to injuries and even death due to fast-paced, rough shearing and even egregious abuse, as documented by eyewitness investigations, Dürr’s fight for animal-free spaces is essential.
You can join these powerful women in calling for change. Go vegan now, and join our online Activist Network: