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In 2020, the lives of Australian women changed irrevocably. With insight, intelligence and empathy, Jane Gilmore, Santilla Chingaipe and Emily J. Brooks explore this through the lenses of work, love and body, and ask: Will the Australia of tomorrow be more equal than the one we were born into? Or will women and girls remain left behind?

While our country was shrouded in smoke in the early months of 2020, Australian women went about their daily business. They worked, studied, cleaned, did school runs, made meals. And they postponed looking after themselves because life got in the way.

Then, in March, Australians were told to lock down. For all the talk of equality, it was primarily women who held the health of our communities in their hands as they took on the essential jobs to care, to nurse and to teach, despite an invisible danger. One year later, women across the country would march on behalf of those who were not safe in workplaces and their own homes.

Never before has change been thrust so abruptly on modern Australian women – 2020 impacted our working lives, relationships and our health and wellbeing. And as a growing number of women agitate for change, it is time to demand what women want. So where do we go from here?

One thing is very clear: the future is now, and it is female.