7 inspiring women who turned the world on its head.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard with our editor-in-chief Jamila Rizvi.





Success is a spectrum and for me, achieving it is not just about money and it certainly isn’t about having it all. I want my kids to grow up in a household where they see a successful mother who chases her dreams and her curiosity and makes time for everything that she loves.

My motivation for success is partly my two boys, but I sap the inspiration for success from other successful women.

Here are seven of my favourite women who work wonders in their chosen fields:

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Microsoft. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

1. Julia Gillard.

In 2010 Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister of Australia. Her success was far from streamlined and her obstacles always made front page news, so Julia’s thoughts on success are something we can all learn from:

“I think we easily all talk ourselves into the proposition that it’s never been as hard as this. Well it’s been hard in the past. It’s been really hard. So you keep doing it and, the more you do it, the more you gain strength and confidence that you can do it. Try harder every day to be better than the day before.” Julia Gillard.

2. Hillary Clinton.

Former US secretary of State, US Senator and First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton drives her life with a strength and determination that is contagious:

“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfil my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.” Hilary Clinton.


3. Arianna Huffington. 

Listed by Forbes as the 52nd most powerful woman in the world, Arianna Huffington has her own media empire and her thoughts on how to achieve our own success is food for the soul:

“My mother taught me to keep trying doors; one will eventually open. She also taught me to accept failure as part and parcel of life. It’s not the opposite of success; it’s an integral part of success. I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” Arianna Huffington.

4. Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey is the definition of the American Dream. The richest African-American in the 20th century, and a life that started from poverty and abuse, she is now an international symbol for hope and success:

“The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but significance, then the small steps and little victories take on greater meaning. Each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint. The best way to succeed is to discover what you love offer that to others by working hard and allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” Oprah Winfrey.

5. Ellen DeGeneres.

Everything she touches turns to (often hilarious) success. Ellen is the star of her talk show, an author, actress and generally one of the most awesome women today:

“I work hard to see the big picture and not get stuck in ego. You learn that there will be times when you succeed and times when you fail, both are equally important. Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else’s path: unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means, follow that path.” Ellen DeGeneres.


6. Michelle Obama.

An American lawyer and writer, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama is a role model, advocate and inspiration:

“Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives. Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own. One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.” Michelle Obama.

7. JK Rowling.

Author of the best-selling book series in history, JK Rowling penned Harry Potter while battling poverty and her stories and characters will be locked in the hearts of generations to come:

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default. Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success.” JK Rowling.

What woman in your life inspires you the most?

These extraordinary women continue to shine and here at Mamamia we’re pretty inspired by their stories


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