International Womens Day The Dive Shed

Last year, over 600 rallies in more than 60 countries marched for women’s equality.

It was an unprecedented demonstration, signalling solidarity and strength for women across the world. And although the marches took place in the major capital cities, this wave of the women’s movement did not bypass the regions. In fact, the Margaret River region is oozing with strong, bold, and inspirational women in a multitude of industries, and an increasing number of women are stepping forward into leadership roles.

In light of International Women’s Day, we’d like to share some of the incredible talents and achievements of a handful of women in the region. We know there are more though – so feel free to give a shout-out to a hard working woman in the comments below.

The Dive Shed

Swim Sisters

They dive for lost wallets and wedding rings, and emerge to return them to their grateful owners on the land. Who are these masked heroes in tight-fitted clothing? A couple of women of course!

Sisters Alecia and Megan McDonald run The Dive Shed, one of the most unique scuba diving experiences on offer in the region. And although it might seem an unlikely career choice, both say that diving is in their blood. Alecia and Megan grew up around Geographe Bay, and as kids were always out on boats crabbing and fishing.

As well as being skilled divers and business owners, the pair are also genuine activists in marine protection and conservation. Over the past three years, The Dive Shed has contributed as a key stakeholder in the Federal Government’s Commonwealth Marine Reserves review, advising Canberra on how best to protect the marine environment. Since 2012, Alecia and Megan have also run their ‘conscious diver’ Busselton Jetty Eco Tour, which focuses on diving with minimal impact on the environment and reducing their carbon footprint.

All in a day’s work for these two superheroes. We think a cape would complete the look perfectly.

Burch Family International Women's Day Howard Park Wines

The Trio at Howard Park

Howard Park Wines is run by a mother and daughter combo, Amy and Natalie Burch. Owner and Director (and mother in the duo), Amy Burch, is one of those people that can do just about everything. She designed the building, manages the marketing and has basically built the winery from the ground up.

Her intellect is apparent from simply reading a list of the languages she speaks. Amy was speaking Hokkien & Teochew Chinese, Malay, and Mandarin all before the age of 12, and has now added Italian, French, and Japanese to her repertoire!

It’s no wonder that Amy’s daughter Natalie is also a brain, described by her mum as tenacious, idealistic, and with a cracking sense of humour.

Completing the female trio at Howard Park is chief winemaker, Janice McDonald. She sets high-standards, produces quality wine, and is creative about pushing the limits and taking new directions. Those who work with her love her too, which is a testament to Janice’s character.

Read more about the fabulous female trio here.

Chloe Wilder Open Studios

Artistic Influencers

For Chloe Wilder, powerful women aren’t necessarily business moguls or professional surfers, they are women that just ooze with confidence. Chloe is a painter – and a good one. She is renowned for creating large-scale modern portraiture of women who she feels embody inner strength and power. In fact, Chloe actively seeks out women on social media who have an air of confidence to ask if she can paint their portraits.

Born and raised in New Zealand, Chloe fell in love with the region and made Margaret River home. A multi-skilled woman, Chloe actually started her career as an environmental scientist, researching whale migration in Broome! It’s a good thing she turned her hand to painting though. The incredible colours in her striking murals just pop, and staring at the large-scale female faces gives an immediate sense of empowerment.

Another highly talented female artist making her mark in the region is Lauren Rudd. Lauren’s work also focuses on the female form. She uses moulds to create sculptures of the female torso out of clay, with some that feature elaborate textured wings. The process is technical and unique, and Lauren loves to experiment with glass and other materials in the creation of sculptures that celebrate the beauty of the female body. What a woman!

Both Chloe and Lauren’s work will be on display in the Margaret River Region Open Studios art trail. Keep an eye out for their program in our visitor centres in the coming month.