Letham with her board.
Dee Why library.
Isabel Letham was one of the first Australians to ride the waves. After moving to the US in 1918, she became an epitome of the modern woman: economically independent, physically daring and unapologetically ambitious.
A colour portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian by Dutch artist Jacobus Houbraken, circa 1700.
Maria Sibylla Merian's meticulous observations laid the groundwork for the fields of entomology, animal behaviour and ecology. But the legacy of this scientific superhero has been sidelined by sexism.
Standard of Ur mosaic, 26th century BC.
Enheduanna's name means 'Ornament of Heaven'. She wrote hymns and myths more than 4000 years ago, studied the stars and yet is almost entirely unknown in the present day.
An 1808 painting by Marie-Gabrielle Capet titled Atelier of Madame Vincent, showing Labille-Guiard at work (centre) as Capet fills her palette.
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was a supremely skilled artist. But like so many talented women before and since, she suffered from snide allegations that she could not be capable of such brilliance.
MIss Fury had cat claws, stiletto heels and a killer make-up compact.
Miss Fury was the first female superhero written and drawn by a woman. The comic in which she featured was syndicated in 100 newspapers but her creator has largely been excluded from the pantheon of comic greats.
Kathleen McArthur (left) and Judith Wright (right) wildflowering at Currimundi in 1961.
Photo by Alex Jelinek. Courtesy Alexandra Moreno
Wildflower artist Kathleen McArthur led one of Australia's first major conservation battles, over Queensland's Cooloola region. Yet this canny activist is rarely mentioned in most accounts of the campaign.
María was murdered in front of the San Agustin Church in Manila (pictured). Her killer was later executed on the same spot.
The story of María invites us to consider how the powerless could assert personal autonomy in their lives and how we can hear traces of the voiceless in the archives.
Mary Jane Cain (centre) with granddaughters Miley Barker and Molly Chatfield and her great niece Josephine.
The sun dancin' : people and place Coonabarabran (Aboriginal Studies Press, 1994)
In the late 1880s, Gomeroi woman Mary Jane Cain began petitioning Britain for land rights. A matriarch and Queen to her people, she recovered 600 acres that became home to displaced Aboriginal families.
An Attic red-figure kylix from Vulci (Italy), 440-430 BC, depicting King Aigeus in front of the Pythia at the Oracle of Delphi.
In a time and place that offered few career opportunities for women, the role of priestess at Delphi was enormously influential. She was consulted on everything from warfare to love to public policy.
Portrait of Ruby Lindsay, published in The drawings of Ruby Lind, 1920.
Often overshadowed by her famous brothers, Ruby Lindsay found ways to challenge the restrictive gender roles of early-20th Century Australia.
Portrait of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, c. 1500, by Gentile Bellini.
One of the most significant woman of Venice’s golden age, Cornaro was an important figure in Renaissance politics, diplomacy and arts.
The family of Hop Lin Jong (who is pictured on the far left) at the wedding of her daughter, Ruby (third from right) in 1924. Ruby was murdered by her husband the following year.
Hop Lin Jong's arrival in Western Australia in 1901 was remarkable only because she was Chinese. Her life might have passed in obscurity if not for the murder of her daughter in 1925.
Part of the 2.5 metre dolls’ house created by Petronella Oortman in 17th century Amsterdam.
A 2.5 metre dolls' house reveals the hopes and dreams of Petronella Oortman, a 17th-century Dutch woman.
A plaque on a house in St Petersburg that says: ‘Here the writer Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya wrote Sophia Petrovna, a story about the Great Terror 1936-1938’.
Persecuted by Stalin, writers Lydia Chukovskaya and Anna Akhmatova endured threats, cold and starvation. And in an epic feat, Lydia memorised the poems of her friend that were too dangerous to commit to paper.
Théroigne de Mericourt, engraving after a painting by Auguste Raffet in 1817.
This frail and often hated woman became a passionate advocate of a woman's place in a democratic society before a tragic episode broke her.
Elsie Masson outside Government House, Darwin.
Wayne Collection, Copyright Pitt Rivers Museum.
One of the 'first white women' to travel in the Northern Territory, Elsie Masson's attitudes to the Aboriginal people she met expressed the contradictions of racial thought at this time.