To mark International Women's Day, we at Thrive are celebrating the best content around, created by or starring females.
We asked our Thrivers to nominate their favourite films, TV shows, articles, blogs, podcasts, TED talks, TikTok videos, ads and more that simply wouldn’t exist without the incredible women behind them.
From the inspirational and thought-provoking, to laugh-out-loud funny, here are our top picks to watch, read and listen to this IWD.
Miette Lelievre, Senior Account Director
Amy Cuddy's research on body language reveals we can change other people’s perceptions – and perhaps even our own body chemistry – simply by changing body positions. An empowering talk that shows you can, in fact, fake it ‘til you make it – with your body language, at least.
Chanelle Mihailoff, Account Director
In her TEDx talk The Lady Stripped Bare, respected journalist and author Tracey Spicer strips back (literally) her extensive daily beauty routine to challenge gender stereotypes and push back artificial social structures. A refreshingly candid and thought-provoking talk that encourages women to challenge society’s expectations.
Lauren Nowak, Business Director
My favourite commercial showing the true realities of an average morning for women. Too often, women are served content that presents an entirely unrealistic expectation of how we're supposed to behave, how we're supposed to look, and how our lives are supposed to look. The pressure can be overwhelming as we try to hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards.
Separately, the best quote I've heard in a long time is from Taylor Swift, "There's always some standard of beauty that you're not meeting." As someone who has struggled with her weight and acne for her whole life, I've come to the realisation at age 32 that I just can't win. So why bother. We've only got such a short time on this earth that if I keep hating myself, I'm going to waste my time here by not enjoying it fully. And even though every day is challenging, my focus since hearing this is to use enjoyment as a barometer, rather than physical perfection.
Anissha Vijayan, Account Director
Genevieve Clay-Smith is someone who I admire dearly - a pioneering award-winning female filmmaker in Australia who is paving the way for inclusive filmmaking. She co-founded 'Bus Stop Films' - a not for profit film school which provides the 'film school experience' for people with an intellectual disability and others from marginalised communities. She is one to watch.
Victoria Fruean, Group Account Director
Be a Lady They Said is a thought-provoking video featuring actress and activist Cynthia Nixon narrating a piece from writer Camille Rainville that calls out the impossible standards that women are taught and told to aspire to. It showcases just how much these standards contradict each other and lays bare the truth for many women who feel like they just can't get it 'right', no matter how hard they try. It's not an easy watch, but it's an important one for both men and women.
Sophie Maguire, Business Development Manager
Monica Lewinsky is a global household name, forever tied to that scandal over 20 years ago. Since delivering her TEDTalk The Price of Shame, she is now telling her story. Speaking at Broadside a feminist ideas festival in Melbourne last November, she addressed topics such as digital resilience, privacy, cultivating compassion, overcoming shame and equality for women. These issues were not as high on the agenda when I was younger, but now as a woman and mother to two young girls growing up in the digital age, the need for a safer and more compassionate social media environment is so evident. Kindness, empathy, compassion, acceptance. All words that provoke positive actions that we need to practice more.
Taylor Swift's recent Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, showcases a range of equally exciting and dark moments of what it's like for a young woman to grow up in the spotlight. The documentary is directed by a woman, Lana Wilson, who conveys Taylor's story in a respectful and heartfelt manner. Throughout the doco, we see Taylor for who she truly is - an inspiring and empowering young woman who is standing up for her beliefs and normalising her past and present struggles in our society. Taylor continues to be a relatable figure and role model in so many ways!
Alice Dodge, Senior Account Director
Reese Witherspoon is ALL OF US learning how to TikTok. Sometimes you just need to ask the kids how it is done.
And I love Brene Brown's inspirational Netflix talk, The Call to Courage. With humour and empathy, Brene Brown discusses what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty.
Marine Geraud, Senior Account Director
To Love and Let Go: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Gratitude is the latest book published by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Brathen, most commonly known as 'Yoga Girl'. This is an inspirational story discussing grief, loss and the power of raw vulnerability to heal and be able to fully love, and let go. This book will help you understand that feeling your feelings and allowing vulnerability is the only path to healing and truly becoming who you are.
Jane Hutton, Communications & Marketing Director
The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is about breaking through fear so you can be driven by curiosity and creativity. It's inspiring, empowering, and best summed up by Elizabeth herself: "A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life."
Sarah Murray, Account Director
I love the book Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. It's basically a love story to her friends. It's all about being vulnerable and wrong at times but friendships pulling you through.
Diana Pong, APAC Communications Lead
Jodi Picoult is my favourite author as her books are an incredible blend of ethical dilemmas and complex family relationships, with heart-wrenching emotion and surprising twists. Just like we do in PR where we base our strategies and approach on research and insights, Jodie talks to experts and interviews relevant people to ensure her writing is accurate.
One of my favourite quotes: “There's always going to be bad stuff out there. But here's the amazing thing -- light trumps darkness, every time. You stick a candle into the dark, but you can't stick the dark into the light.” ― Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart
Monika Bialecki, Account Executive
Cecelia Ahern is an incredible author who most famously wrote P.S I Love You, however, this is not why I have chosen her as my inspiration. Since picking up a random book in the bookstore based off the cover, I haven't been able to walk past one of Cecelia's books and not read them. My all-time favourite is One Hundred Names, which takes everyone on a journey about meeting new people and simply listening to their stories.
Working in public relations, it's a great example of the power of storytelling where the listener has the power to be able to manipulate the story or tell the narrative without any additional embellishment. My favourite phrase from Cecilia is: "Every ordinary person has an extraordinary story" - which could not be more true. We often don't give ourselves credit for our own journey or we’re quick to dismiss someone else's, but if we took the time to really listen to each other we can hear their beautiful journey so far.
Claire McAdam, Account Director
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown does an amazing job of explaining how vulnerability in leadership humanises people and provides them with the tools to have meaningful conversations with real impact. It’s taught me that empathy is the most crucial part of leadership because it helps build a foundation of trust for a strong working relationship.
Snezna Kerekovic, Chief Strategy Director
This is a piece of content directed and produced by a very good friend of mine, Monique Coleman. It was created to support an incredible organisation Sister2Sister - which has been set up to provide the most disadvantaged girls with a mentor to try and help them break out of the cycle they have found themselves to be in. In a previous role, we were briefed by NIVEA (who are the key sponsor) to elevate the Sister2Sister program. The song was released on iTunes/ Spotify and hit top 10 R&B on release and was in the top 100 for a month. It is something that I am very proud to have been part of. I love it because it is made by women for girls and is all about women supporting and uplifting other women.
Georgia Ahern, Account Manager
In terms of women breaking barriers in sport, Sam Lane really stands out for me. Her passion for storytelling whilst battling heavy personal criticism for being a female journalist in a male-dominated sport really demonstrates her resilience. She has recently launched a new podcast with the Richmond Women's AFLW team, a series explaining how the Richmond AFLW team came to its discovery. So far there are five episodes - they deeply discuss the club at the beginning, who the driving forces were behind its inception, and how they've got to where they are today.
The podcast Shameless hosted by Melbourne journalists Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald highlights pop culture from a feminist perspective. From debating toxic masculinity and the #MeToo movement, to how J-Lo's Super Bowl halftime show really changed the game, this podcast and it's loyal following celebrates mainstream women's interests.
Madison Saunders, Senior Account Executive
Through their podcast, Shameless, Melbourne journalists Michelle Williams and Zara McDonald give Australian 20-something women a safe and open space to discuss everything from celebrity news, money habits, female sexuality and everything in between. More than that, they encourage women to feel empowered in their own interests and I love that!
Eva McKenzie, Account Manager
I love the podcast She’s On The Money hosted by influential financial advisor, Victoria Devine. Victoria is a multiple award-winning financial adviser, helping thousands of people change their relationship with money (including me!). She is a young, influential and driven entrepreneur who pushes the boundaries in not just the finance industry but in a number of charities and nonprofit organisations.
Pete Fairbairn, Group Account Director (Sport)
This International Women's Day, I want to shout out Fairfax Media lead Rugby journalist Georgina Robinson, as much for what she says and what she writes. Last year's Rugby World Cup Daily Podcast was hosted by Georgina and her colleague Tom Decent on the ground in Japan. Being an up-to-the-minute show, recorded in local bars and cafes on the move, it showcased Georgina's astute understanding of the Wallabies' evolving tactics throughout the tournament, her ability to break news as it happened and solidified her place as one Australia's pre-eminent sports journos. Further to that, she's an eloquent and natural presenter and the <20 minute format made it the best way to keep up with the news, across not just the Wallabies but the tournament as a whole, for the duration of the RWC.