Five strong Australian women share: 'This is what I'd tell my 12-year-old self today'

This article was created in cooperation with ABC ME, celebrating International Day of the Girl

There is one thing Leigh Sales, the Honourable Julie Bishop, Dami Im, the Honourable Penny Wong and Georgie Stone all have in common.

Once, they were girls.

Girls with their own personalities and passions, who one day woke up and decided they could achieve whatever they put their minds to.

There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities to own their energy, power and creativity to drive change and help build a better future for all.

Yet, many girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more.

In celebration of International Day of the Girl Child on the 11th October, five strong, powerful women share the things they’d tell their 12-year-old selves.

Leigh Sales, journalist and host of the ABC’s 7:30.

Image: Getty.

"Your character is more important than what you look like. Popularity comes because you have a kind and winning personality, not because you look good.

"Enjoy what you’re doing and live in the moment because time passes really quickly and before you know it, the moment will be gone.

"Old friends are the greatest friends so try to ensure the special ones don’t fall by the wayside because you get too busy."

Leigh Sales interviews Mia Freedman for No Filter:

The Honourable Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Image: Getty.

"Believe in yourself, don't let others define you.

"Trust your judgement, trust your instincts. Set your own standards and always be true to yourself."

Georgie Stone, transgender advocate.

Image: Getty.

"Trust yourself. Don't do things you don't want to do. Don't try to please others. Trust your instincts. You are beautiful. Believe that. You don't have to try and make yourself look like the other girls. Don't compare yourself to them. You are beautiful!

"Don't censor yourself. If people don't like your humour, or your laugh, or your personality, don't blame yourself. Be you, and be proud of who you are."

Mia Freedman speaks to Georgie Stone and her mum for the No Filter podcast

Dami Im, Australian recording artist and X Factor winner, 2013.

Image: Getty.

"Not to be afraid of being different to everyone else but keep loving what I’m good at which is playing music and keep having fun playing the piano."

The Honourable Penny Wong, Labor Senator for South Australia and Senate Leader of the Opposition.

Image: Getty.

"It’s OK to be different, it’s OK to be you."

"Find your own voice, trust yourself."

Listen to the I Don't Know How She Does it podcast with Penny Wong:

Today is International Day of the Girl and to celebrate Mamamia has partnered with Room To Read. They work to transform the lives of millions of girls through literacy and education programs. Mamamia is proud to support Room to Read in their work to make the world a better place for girls. You can support them, here: