International Women’s Day: Celebrating some of Australia’s breakthrough female athletes

Ash Barty

The world No. 1 is a national treasure.

Barty navigated the 2022 Australian Open title like it was a Sunday stroll – claiming a well-deserved $2.88 million in the process.

She is the fourth highest paid athlete in the country, earning $17 million in 2021 and her presence at the top of the women’s rankings made her the second Indigenous woman to hold the honor, behind her idol Evonne Goolagong.

The Barty Party is just getting started for 2022.

Sam Kerr

WA’s Sam Kerr wrote himself into the history books in 2022, surpassing Tim Cahill’s previous record of 50 goals to claim Australia’s all-time leading international goalscorer.

The Matildas captain and Chelsea striker is also the only female football player to have won the Golden Boot in three different leagues and on three different continents – Australia, North America and Europe.

She played in the AFL until the age of 12, but switched to football, largely due to gender restrictions.

Now one of the sport’s most prolific forwards at 28, Kerr is at the peak of her powers on the international stage.

Australian women’s cricket team

Camera iconYeah girls! Credit: mike owen/Getty Images

There are too many outstanding artists on this team to pick just one.

Currently competing in the ODI ICC Women’s World Cup 2022, the Aussies have a plethora of established and emerging talent at their disposal.

The names of Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt are all real stars.

But then you add Alana King, Darcie Brown Annabel Sutherland – not to mention Tahlia McGrath – and you have an XI that all deserve a spot on this list.

But if we’re celebrating International Women’s Day 2022, reigning Belinda Clark Medal winner Ashleigh Gardner deserves a special mention.

She is a quintessential all-rounder, having finished the medal voting period among Australia’s top three scorers and top five wicket-takers in all formats.

AFLW Pioneers

The women’s competition has grown by leaps and bounds since its inaugural season in 2017 and now has 14 teams – soon to be 18.

It’s packed with superstars like reigning duo Kiara Bowers (Fremantle) and Brianna Davey (Collingwood) or all-time top scorer Darcy Vescio and many more.

But three come to mind when considering the true pioneers of the competition in its six-year history.

Adelaide’s Erin Phillips is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, player to play women’s football and inspired a generation of female athletes to choose a Sherrin.

Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce is also a contender for the title and is so universally respected that AFL clubs have come calling for her coaching services, despite still dominating the game at 33.

Her team-mate, former Carlton and Brisbane striker Tayla Harris, has been immortalized in bronze after standing up to internet trolls, who bombarded a photo of her kicking goal in 2019 with sexist comments, at a watershed moment for the sport.

Jakara Anthony

Gold medalist Jakara Anthony.
Camera iconGold medalist Jakara Anthony. Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Australia’s Beijing 2022 golden girl, Jakara Anthony became the country’s first Winter Olympics gold medalist in 12 years when she won the women’s moguls title in dominant fashion.

It was the first time in Winter Olympics history that Australia had won more than one medal in a single day after Tess Coady won bronze in women’s snowboard slopestyle earlier in the day.

She returned to Australia as the only gold medalist from the 2022 Games.

Emma McKeon

McKeon became Australia’s greatest Olympian when she won an incredible seven medals, including four gold, at the Tokyo Olympics, taking her tally to 11 Olympic medals, including five gold.

McKeon was also made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2022, having received an Order of Australia (OAM) Medal in 2017 following her gold medal in Rio.

Ariane Timus

Titmus’ gold medal effort was one of the most memorable moments of the Tokyo Olympics.

Her victory from behind in the 200 meters final catapulted her to international recognition and saw her leave the Games with the Olympic record.

Her pool rivalry with American legend Katie Ledecky was rich and rewarding for those watching at home and ended with Titmus winning the 400m and Ledecky the 800m, a fitting end to one of the greatest women’s sports battles.

Ttitmus was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) medal in 2022.

jess fox

The canoeist completed her Olympic sweep in Tokyo this year after finally securing an elusive gold medal to add to her silver in Rio (2016) and bronze in London (2012).

It was one of the most emotional moments of the Games for Australia, as the eight-time canoe slalom world champion finally got her chance to step onto the top step of the Olympic podium.

In the 2022 Australian Day Honours, Fox received the Order of Australia Medal.

Annabelle McIntyre

After more than 150 years of sport in the state and a history filled with champions, Annabelle McIntyre became the first WA rower to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

She achieved the feat alongside four female teammates Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa and Jessica Morrison at the 2020 Olympics.

In the 2022 Australian Day Honours, McIntyre received the Order of Australia Medal.

Naomi C. Amerson