International Women's Day 2024

March 8, 2024
AEP team member

Raising awareness, breaking down barriers and fostering diversity all help contribute to creating a world where women will thrive.

Inspiring inclusion is the theme for this year’s IWD. True inclusivity means to openly embrace someone; their diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image and how they identify. Globally, women must be included in all fields of endeavour.

We’ve come a long way but there’s still a lot more to do to create a world where women truly feel empowered.

Why should you care? Well, in the words of world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, Gloria Steinem, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

This year, to celebrate IWD and the many wonderful achievements of women (historical or current) we asked the male AEP team members to reflect on the women who have inspired them and why. Here’s what a few of them shared…


Bhushan de Costa: The woman who has inspired me the most is Mother Theresa (Mother Teresa -Wikipedia)


  • She cared to bring dignity to the worst affected human beings; the sick, the dying, the downtrodden.
  • She created a sense of belonging for people who had absolutely nothing and for the sick who were dying on the streets.
  • She was selfless.
  • She lived what she preached and spoke through her actions.
  • She dared. She was brave. She was bold.

Heath Pardoe: I greatly admire the writing of West Australian author Elizabeth Jolley. She revealed people's turbulent inner lives with precision and a knowing wink.


Elliot Brooker: There are two women that come to mind, that I can’t pick between!

  • Princess Diana: Her kindness and compassion towards everybody she came across was truly admirable and something we should all try to emulate. The work she did for advancing so many causes (e.g., HIV, cancer etc.), she was so ahead of her time in such a historical and traditional role.,_Princess_of_Wales
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Studying to be a lawyer in the 1950s at Harvard in a classroom of 500 people with only nine women, she became a champion in advancing gender and queer rights in one of the highest courts in the world.


Paul Lightfoot: I most admire Hildegard of Bingen. She was a:   

  • Medical practitioner – treating people and inventing new treatments and educating other practitioners. 
  • Scientist/Botanist - considered to be Germany’s first Natural History scholar (scientist).
  • Musical Composer – with over 70 works, many still played today. 

She achieved all of this during the High Middle Ages (1100s Germany), a time that this was unheard of.  She was also a philosopher, a mystic, and what would now be classified as a project manager.

One of the most amazing people in Medieval Europe full stop!


Jonas Haderlein:  A person that I admire is the physicist, Sabine Hossenfelder.

She is working at the cutting-edge of modern particle and quantum physics and is not afraid of voicing unpopular or even heretical opinions in her field. She has a very data-driven approach to physics in that she addresses the difficulty of identifying models from current limited measurement technology. She also has a Youtube channel that I follow, called Science news with Sabine Hossenfelder. (

Anton de Weger: I like that the proportion of women in politics is increasing. It has ‘improved from 25.3 per cent to 39.1 per cent between 2002 to 2023' [], but to be truly representative, shouldn’t it be higher?

Some women in politics that I admire are Penny Wong [], Julia Gillard [] and Jacinda Ardern []. I think they are good role models, and I would like to see more of them.


Aaron Capon: A woman I admire is Chien-Shiung Wu. Also known as the "First Lady of Physics", the "Chinese Madame Curie" and the "Queen of Nuclear Research".

An incredible physicist who made many fundamental contributions to physics, as well as becoming the first female president of the American Physical Society.


Youjin Shrestha: For me, it would be my mum.

Despite facing limited educational opportunities in her youth, she instilled a love of learning in me. Her resilience and dedication to strive for a better life motivates me and keeps me going!


Akshat Arora: One woman I genuinely admire is Ashleigh Barty.

While she has undoubtedly solidified her position as one of the tennis greats, what truly stands out to me is her approach to life. Rather than fixating solely on achieving flawless results, she consistently prioritised giving her best effort in everything she pursues.

It is incredibly refreshing to witness someone of her calibre not solely driven by accolades and trophies. Ashleigh's humility, evident whether she is celebrating victories or facing setbacks, is profoundly inspiring. She embodies the notion that genuine success encompasses staying authentic to oneself and embracing the journey, regardless of outcomes.

Furthermore, her decision to take breaks from tennis to explore other passions, such as cricket and now golf, reflects her remarkable versatility and determination. It's inspiring to witness her navigating various professional domains with such grace and tenacity.

Ash Barty's journey serves as a powerful reminder to me that true fulfilment arises from staying true to one's values and continuously pushing boundaries. She epitomises resilience, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to personal growth and excellence.

AEP Participant: Gary Alway

Gary has been living with epilepsy for almost three decades. In his early 20s his epilepsy was fairly-well managed with medication, and his seizures were rare. But then everything changed. He began having multiple seizures and blackouts every day, culminating in a car crash nine years ago, caused by a seizure.

AEP Participant: Fiona Waugh

Fiona didn’t experience her first seizure until 34-years-of-age and after a further two tonic clonic seizures in as many days, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. “Since diagnosis I’ve remained drug-resistant with a high frequency of seizure activity. But I’ve always had a desire to try and get on top of it, which has led me to make some big treatment decisions over the years.”

Meet the AEP team: Elliot Brooker

Elliot is a valued member of the AEP Neuropsychology team and is responsible for conducting telehealth neuropsychology assessments for AEP participants and control group volunteers.