On Wednesday March 8, we celebrate strong, confident and badass women all around the world. It’s International Women’s Day, a time where we praise women’s achievements and push for gender equality (but TBH, we’re still doing this every day).

Health promotion foundation VicHealth are getting involved in fighting for equality for women in sport with the launch of a new campaign, #ChangeOurGame. VicHealth has brought together teams from the AFLW, Women’s Big Bash League and Women’s National Basketball League to raise the profile of women’s sport.

WF got to speak to a few of these successful athletes about who inspires them and what International Women’s Day means to them.

Maddie Garrick, WNBL basketballer Melbourne Boomers

Photo by Michelle Couling Photography

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your sporting career?
“I would have to say personal disappointments (e.g. non-selections) and my struggle with body image / anorexia as a young athlete, which directly impacted my basketball physically, mentally and emotionally.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“The empowerment of women and the continual gains of inclusive, gender-equal environments.”

Who’s your female role model and why?
“When I was young, I read Cathy Freeman’s book [Born To Run]. She is someone I have looked up to since. The fact that she could still achieve what she did against great odds and as a native Australian (which brought its own criticism), I found inspiring.

Molly Strano, WBBL cricketer Melbourne Renegades


Photo by Matt King – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your sporting career?
“In September 2015, I was diagnosed with a lower back stress fracture. As a result, I missed three months of cricket which meant I wasn’t able to represent Victoria in the 2015/16 season. The only way you can really let a stress fracture heal is by resting. So over this three-month period I wasn’t able to do too much strenuous exercise. Alternatively, I did hours and hours of rehab exercises to strengthen my core.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“It means two things: empowering women and celebrating strong female role models.”

Who’s your female role model and why?
“Melanie Jones, former Southern Stars cricketer. Nowadays Mel is travelling the world, hopping from one commentary box to the next! She was the first female to join the IPL commentary team and she just continues to kick goals in such a male dominated environment. More importantly, she’s just a ripping person!”

Gemma Triscari, WBBL Melbourne Stars

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your sporting career?
“The biggest hurdle I have overcome came last year when I became off contract with Western Australia and had to conduct my own training regime to prepare for the WBBL. I overcame this hurdle by accessing support in regards to my training from support staff in Melbourne, leaning on my close friends to give me that extra pick me up and setting small goals each week.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“It’s a celebration of all women and their achievements whether it be sporting, political, economic or social. It’s about recognising the wonderful work women do across all areas and acknowledging that gender differences are fast becoming an issue of the past.”

Who’s your female role model and why?
“Personally, my nanna is a great female role model to me. She has lived most of her life on her own yet has always remained a strong, independent woman who knows what she likes and allows herself to do those things whilst always being a lovely, caring woman.

“In the sporting world, I don’t so much have people as role models but I look up to successful teams like the USA Women’s soccer team or the Australian Netball team. I admire how most of these female athletes juggle their sport between work and personal lives all whilst being dominant and successful on the field.”

Cat Phillips, AFLW Melbourne FC

Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your sporting career?
“The biggest challenge for me in my sporting career has been balancing sport with other things in my life. My family and friends are really important to me and I have also always put a lot of value on my education. Throughout high school, university and now my engineering career, I have worked to develop strategies to make sure I can keep managing all these parts of my life. In particular now, with AFLW, I am busier than I’ve ever been, so being organised and prioritising things really well has been a big focus.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“Growing up, I was really lucky to be surrounded by strong, competent women showing me that I can work hard to achieve the same things anyone else can. I’ve met women through sport and through engineering who have totally blown me away with the things they’ve done in their lives. To me, International Women’s Day is about showcasing this on a wider scale. There are so many women out there doing inspirational things and the more we can promote this, the better. Young people still have unconscious biases around ideas like what industry they belong in, what school subjects they’re meant to be good at, or what makes a good leader, and I think highlighting the contribution of women in a diverse range of areas will go a long way to creating new pathways, role models and opportunities for young girls.”

Who’s your female role model and why?
“My mum epitomises what a role model is to me. She is someone who has achieved amazing things in her career and her personal life, and she has done it all with the most incredible attitude. She has been widely recognised for her work as a doctor and for her role in starting The Hush Foundation*, but what is most important to me is the focus she always puts on people. She is committed to building a culture of kindness and respect in healthcare and in life and models this to all those around her. I see first-hand the strength of her values and the determination she shows to stand up for what she believes in, and this is a pillar for me as I come across challenges in my own life.”

* Working with patients, families and healthcare professionals, The Hush Foundation transforms the culture of healthcare by harnessing the power of the Arts to educate, inspire and create change for better outcomes for everyone.