Choose to Challenge this International Women's Day

Posted: 8 March 2021

International Women’s Day 2021 – Choose to Challenge

Each year International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women around the world and raises awareness about women’s equality to help forge positive change. Established more than 100 years ago by a conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, the day was born out of the campaign to allow women to vote, and today is recognised by the United Nations for the important work being done to shape a future of gender parity and leadership.

This year’s theme is #ChoosetoChallenge, which encourages us to create more inclusive societies by shining a spotlight on gender bias and inequality, and to draw attention to the achievements of women everywhere.

AAT Kings want to celebrate and highlight the courage and resilience of some of Australia and New Zealand’s great female trailblazers, who showed extraordinary tenacity to achieve and overcome barriers for women in their fields.

Nancy Bird Walton

 This pioneering Australian aviatrix is known as “The Angel of the Outback”. Not only did Nancy Bird Walton found the Australian Women Pilots Association but she was also the youngest woman to gain a commercial pilot’s licence at the age of 19. Born in 1915, Nancy Bird’s love of flying came at a young age after she took a joy flight at a local fair, aged 13. She took flying lessons from Charles Kingsford Smith and bought her first plane, a Gypsy Moth, in which she took off on a tour of Australia. She also helped to operate the first flying medical service in outback New South Wales and held her pilots licence until 3 years before her death in 2009 at the age of 93. A true pioneering Australian female adventurer, her legacy lives on, with an annual sponsorship for young female adventurers set up in her name by the Australian Geographic Society.


 A Nuenonne woman born on Tasmania’s Lunawanna Alonnah, or Bruny Island, Truganini survived a childhood of tragedy to become part of an exploration of the island in the company of GA Robinson, who had been appointed to manage the colonial settlement. Truganini accompanied Robinson on his expeditions around Bruny Island to visit Indigenous communities, acting as instructor and guide. These explorations recorded valuable evidence of Aboriginal languages, customs, and way of living. Truganini also travelled with Robinson to Port Phillip in Victoria, returning to Tasmania soon after where she died in 1874, the last ‘full-blood’ Aboriginal woman left alive, and the last speaker of the Nuenonne language.

Te Paea Hinerangi (Guide Sophia)

 Known as ‘Guide Sophia’, Te Paea Hinerangi gave guided tours of New Zealand’s Pink and White Terraces (Te Ōtūkapuarangi and Te Tarata) at Lake Rotomahana, and Whakarewarewa, as a caretaker of the thermal reserve. She hosted thousands of tourists and several royal parties during the late 19th Century. She encouraged many Tūhourangi women to work as guides and achieve financial independence and was a role model to many other women as the best in the business, renowned for her intelligence and language skills. Te Paea Hinerangi also led a tourist party to safety across Lake Tarawera to shelter in her own home during a volcanic eruption.

Female-led Businesses AAT Kings supports

Not only are we inspired by the history of those female trailblazers who have gone before us, but we’re also proud to support female-led businesses on our Guided Holidays.

On AAT Kings’ 7 day New Zealand Panorama escorted tour, guests can get the feel for real country life at a Be My Guest experience with your host, Southern Girl Laura, who was born and raised on a sheep farm in the deep south of New Zealand. Try your hand at sheep mustering, whip cracking as well as the chance to feed and pet the farm animals. Laura is sure you’ll leave feeling more like a local than a visitor.

On AAT Kings’ 10 day Contrasts of New Zealand Guided Holiday you’ll enjoy morning tea at the home of Tim and Isabelle Weston, owners of Britten Stables. Formerly a horse stables for nearby Mona Vale Gardens and following that, the birthplace of the world-record-setting Britten V1000 motorcycle designed and built in the garage by Isabelle's late father, John Britten. The couple restored the original charm of The Britten Stables and transformed it into the exquisite home that it is today.

 The epic 17 day New Zealand Uncovered gives you the chance to experience the best of the North and South Islands, while indulging in some warm Kiwi hospitality at Morelea, the home of Angie and Stan Taylor, indulge in a Be My Guest barbecue lunch and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. You’ll also get to witness Angie preparing her famous dessert pavlova.

Join us as we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2021 and #ChoosetoChallenge with us. Share this article on your own social channels to show your support and celebrate female leaders and pioneers across Australia, New Zealand and the world.

By Alison O'Loughlin


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Choose to Challenge this International Women's Day



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