PETA celebrates eight speciesism-smashers this International Women’s Day

March 7, 2022

In honour of International Women’s Day 2022, PETA has named eight inspiring vegan women whose work is leading the way to a kind and fair future for all sentient beings.

International Women’s Day, 8 March, is a time to celebrate how far we have come in our fight for equality. Gender equality challenges sexism – discrimination based solely on gender – but the women People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is celebrating today don’t just challenge sexism, they also challenge speciesism, which is discrimination based solely on species.

Here, we share PETA’s pick of vegan women working for a compassionate and just world across both gender and species barriers this International Women’s Day – and beyond!

Georgia Smith, Founder, Koori Kitchen


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A proud Gomeroi woman, Georgia Smith promotes vegan eating to Indigenous peoples and other Australians through her online platform, Koori Kitchen. The recipe creator and wellness influencer also has plans to open an Indigenous bush medicine clinic and café.

Georgia is family-oriented and credits her late grandmother, an Aboriginal Elder, with inspiring her journey to bring sustainable and healthy food to all Australians. 

Since meat-eating is associated with heart disease and a higher risk of some cancers – not to mention being responsible for the deaths of some 4.9 billion land and sea animals annually in Australia alone – this young woman’s work is truly lifesaving. 

Cathryn Wills, Founder, Sans Beast

For much of her career, Cathryn Wills worked in the world of leather bags (made from cows), but she became increasingly aware of her own disconnect when it came to loving animals and using them, leading her to found Sans Beast.

Cathryn’s vision to mingle form and function with compassion is explored through long-wearing pieces designed for women who juggle work and play.

Stylish and sustainable vegan alternatives to animal leathers abound, which is fantastic news for the animals who are harmed and killed in the leather supply chain, and also spares people and planet from the toxic pollution of tanneries.

Susan McCarthy & Lara Young, Co-founders, VEats

If you’ve ever tried to order food from a standard delivery app, you know how hard it can be to find vegan-friendly options.

Enter VEats, Australia’s first all-vegan food delivery and reservation platform, developed by Susan McCarthy and Lara Young, who together have in excess of 30 years’ marketing and business experience.

According to Young, one of the drivers behind the idea was the fact that Australia is among the world’s fastest-growing vegan markets. That’s a sure sign of hope for all species – including wildlife such as our beloved koala, whose habitat has been decimated by land clearing for animal agriculture.

Aline Dürr, Owner, Vegan Interior Design

When people consider the meaning of “vegan”, they often think about food and then clothing, but what about homewares?

Persuading consumers to furnish their nests more ethically is the mission of Aline Dürr, vegan interior design expert and founder of Australia’s first Vegan Interior Design Week.

Through lush styling and an eye for detail, Dürr helps people rethink the use of wool, leather, fur, and feathers in their homes.

Given that sheep used in the wool industry are routinely subjected to injuries and even death due to fast-paced, rough shearing and heartbreaking abuse, as documented by eyewitness investigations, Dürr’s fight for animal-free spaces is essential.

Heaven Leigh, Owner, Bodhi Restaurant Bar

Heaven Leigh is the first Australian-born member of an immigrant family, and her Malaysian grandparents ran takeaway shops in the 1970s before her mother established Bodhi Restaurant Bar, a stylish eatery famous for its vegan yum cha.

Over the past 27 years, Leigh has continued to grow the restaurant into the longest-established fully plant-based eatery in Sydney, and scooping Best Vegan Restaurant in the 2020 Nourish Vegan Awards – all while being a busy mother of two (three, if you count whippet Kenzo), and mentor.

Leigh proves that vegan food can be a spicy, exotic, and delicious way to bring people together. Plus, eating vegan can reduce your food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 73 percent!

Cassy Judy, Criminal Lawyer, Activist, and Singer Songwriter

A transgender woman, Cassy Judy is a criminal lawyer who offers legal aid to marginalised communities in Sydney while juggling activism and performing.

As a musician, Cassy describes her style as “Prince meets Aussie Rock, with a healthy dose of comedy”.

Travelling with her guitar, Cassy uses her voice to speak up for everyone – from trans people to the horses forced to race in the Melbourne Cup.

She’s also a vegan athlete who undertakes gruelling long-distance ocean swims, putting her in the company of increasing numbers of world-class athletes who are ‘killing it without killing’, including tennis star Nick Kyrgios, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and Olympic swimmer Steph Rice.

Shonagh Stratford, Founder, Sho & Co

A dedicated vegan, Shonagh Stratford started Sho & Co in 2019 with a vision of creating a cruelty-free hair salon that’s also gentle on the planet, recycling everything from aluminium foil to hair clippings.

Sho & Co exclusively uses hair products that are free from animal-derived ingredients and never tested on animals.

This matters, because even though new laws ostensibly prevent cosmetics from being tested on animals in Australia, loopholes in the law still allow for multi-use substances used in cosmetics to be tested on animals. In a nutshell, that means that unless you opt for certified cruelty-free products, you could still be paying for animals to suffer for your haircare.

Images: Courtesy of PETA Australia

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