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The Ladies of the Ladies Network Stand in front of a Pink Neon Sign
Rachela Nardella

The Sydney groups who champion women

Man, where to celebrate being a woman

By Gina Karlikoff

These places and collectives are putting the Bae into Beyonce with creative platforms and spaces designed for women, by women. 

Photography: Hayley Thorncraft

Chicks with Picks

Chicks with Picks is all about the Frontwoman. With regular gigs and open-mic nights, their aim is to get women on stage doing their thing. Sally Hackett, who runs the night along with McKenzie Raymond, says that as a performer herself, "I only really kept playing because of CWP. It’s a great gig to play with a supportive audience." CWP is open to all styles and acts so if you’re keen to join the line-up, send them an email or Facebook message. 
Photography: Create or Die Gallery

Create or Die Gallery

Looking at the ratio of men to women artists in museums is like walking into the weights section at the gym, only to pick up the 2kg dumbbell and get the hell outta there. Create or Die gallery is set to change this reality. Located in Marrickville, this space often host events promoting women in the arts. 
DJ plays songs as everyone dances
Photograph: Rachel Murdolo

FBi Dance Class

FBi Dance Class is a program that mentors female DJs in dance music. With the support of V MoVement, FBi Dance Class discovers, trains and develops the skills of girls who are keen to get behind the decks. Each year, five budding stars are selected and assigned mentors who share the talent and wisdom they’ve gained from navigating the industry. They put on killer events, too.
Photography: Santo George

Girls: Hip-Hop, Grime & R’n'B

In an industry where lineups are male-dominated and unwarranted feel-ups are commonplace on the dance floor, GIRLS night at Plan B Small Club is a breath of fresh air in a sea full of bros. Presented by Izmz Mag, the night is in full support of female DJs and encourages a space for women to dance exactly how they wanna. After the packed-out success of the first GIRLS night, the next event will take place over the ANZAC long weekend.

Amrita and Vanessa from Hollaback Dance Classes
Photograph: Kurt Davies

Hollaback Dance Classes


Amrita Hepi is the driving force behind Hollaback. And what a beautiful force it is. Along with a super fun workout Amrita also scatters her pearls of inspiration across the dance floor – encouraging you to know and understand your body a little better, and how to move in a space that makes you more appreciative of others. By the end it feels less dance class and more BBLU (Bad Bitches Link Up).

Iranian Women Visual Artists Collective

The Iranian Women Visual Artists Collective Australia (IWVAC-Australia) brings together Iranian visual artists and women living in Australia. Founder, curator and teacher Naz Marashian started the collective while trying to find a balance between motherhood and maintaining an artistic practice. Marashian notes that, "the idea of forming the collective was based on my desire to 'connect' to like minded women and in particular Iranian women, with whom I share common language and culture." IWVAC gives artists a platform to encourage one another though connection, collaboration and creation. This effective approach has attracted international artists and galleries to Marashian. The collective holds regular workshops and is currently working on their next exhibition Fragmented due in May this year. 

Eight members of the Ladies Network stand together in front of a pink wall with their logo on it
Photograph: Rachela Nardella

The Ladies Network

The success of the Ladies Network reflects how sought-after a creative space encouraging female artists really is. Each of their events to date have been wildly packed out and, unlike exhibitions where you might enjoy a free drink and a glimpse of some “art”, lots of the work the Ladies exhibit actually sells. Perhaps their refreshing take on the industry coincides with their aesthetic. In response to this demand, the Ladies have recently launched their new online shop where you can browse and purchase works from $20 to $2000. It’s also a great website to stay up to date with women pioneering their respective industries. 

McIver's Ladies Baths

Sport and fitness Coogee
McIver’s Ladies Baths are the last-remaining women’s only rock pool in Australia. But while you’re frolicking away it’s easy to forget about the ladies actually running the operation – the Randwick and Coogee Ladies Swimming Club. Built in the 19th century as a place for Indigenous women to bathe "out of sight" from the main beach, the Club has continued to upkeep the baths since 1922. Recognised for their importance to diverse groups, in 1995 the Ladies gained exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Act. As soon as you throw your 20c entry fee into the bucket and walk down the ramp, you can understand why they’re so important. Here, it's an oasis. And we have the Ladies Swimming Club to thank.
Photography: Mad Max: Fury Road

WiFT: Women in Film and Television

When it comes to film, it’s mainly dudes warming the director’s seats, boardroom chairs and taking up reel-time. About 85% of directors are men and one third of speaking characters are female (not to mention the ethnicity gaps). Since 1982 Women in Film and Television NSW have been committed to improving these stats. The aim of the group is to support women in the industry by raising issues and awareness, ensuring Equal Employment Opportunities and promoting achievements. Look out for events such as the WoW (World of Women’s Cinema) festival in Sydney coming up.


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