International Women’s Day 2017: Playlist

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’ve put together five of my favourite songs by female singers.

Ella Fitzgerald has one of the most iconic voices of all time.

I admire Madonna as a business person, rather than a musician, although I do love this song.

Meg Mac is one of my favourite local musicians.

I love Regina Spektor, and often find myself humming this tune while I’m out walking.

Seeker Lover Keeper consists of Sarah Blasko, Sally Saltman and Holly Throsby.

And because I’m making the rules here, I’m going to include a sixth song, because Greta Svabo Bech has an incredible voice. Chronicles of a Fallen Love by The Bloody Beetroots, featuring Greta Svabo Bech.


On a more serious note – because I’m all about the serious history! – International Women’s Day (March 8) is defined as: a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Since the suffragette era (1880s to 1920s), women’s rights have improved astronomically. Today we are able to vote, own property, and medical advances mean that (in the western world, anyway) we don’t die in childbirth as often as in the past. Of course, there is still a long way to go to achieve equal rights, but let’s not forget how far we have come.

In ‘To Charm a Bluestocking’ my characters are among the first female graduates of medical colleges in the world. The first female doctor in the world was Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, who graduated in the USA in 1849. In Europe, the pioneer was the English born Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who was refused admittance to Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews and the Royal College of Surgeons. After a long battle, she ended up graduating from the University of Sorbonne, Paris, in 1870 (more than ten years after her first application to study). Together with Dr Sophia Jex-Blake, she founded the London School of Medicine for Women; but they were not allowed to practice in England until 1876 when the new Medical Act allowed British medical authorities to license doctors regardless of gender. In Holland, the first graduate was Dr Aletta Jacobs who graduated from the University of Groningen in 1879.

Today, in Australia, just over 50% of graduating doctors are female. However, the percentages are skewed when you look at specialist roles: pathology (58%), paediatrics (53%), obstetrics and gynaecology (49%) and underrepresented in orthopaedic surgery (6%), vascular surgery (11%) and cardiothoracic surgery (12%).

We have come a long way from those early days.

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