The role of women has drastically changed in the last century; from ‘belonging in the kitchen’ to head chefs; from being seen and not heard, to shouting from the rooftops; and from being told what to do, to leading ladies of the big screen, heading up businesses, families and countries – women are changing the world.

At Côte we appreciate all the women we encounter on a daily basis, from our staff, to our guests. In celebration of International Women’s Day,  we’ve collected a list of awe-inspiring women to celebrate International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day and the ever-evolving role of the women in society.

Here are just some of the impressive females of the last 100 years:

Coco Chanel

“Women have always been the strong ones of the world. The men are always seeking from women a little pillow to put their heads down on.”

Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Chanel, revolutionised the way women dressed in the 20th Century, liberating women from conformity and uniform. Born in France and raised in an orphanage, life wasn’t easy for this soon-to-be-fashionista; a career she chose through her love of passion and inability to afford the clothes on sale to her. At the time, women were considered to be less than men and Chanel took it upon herself to free them of their conservative dress and to instead indulge in stunning fabrics and showcases of their personality.

Later, she created business suits for women which shocked the fashion world (and the non-fashion world), as she was the first designer to consider that women could wear something that was originally designed for men. Chanel encouraged people to not care what other people thought and she expressed this in her designs and demeanour.



Audrey Hepburn

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Perhaps most known for her film work, Audrey Hepburn first started as a ballet dancer in the Netherlands; she began dancing in secret to raise money for the Dutch resistance. Soon after, she was offered to star in the Broadway musical ‘Gigi’, after a short acting stint in England. Her acting career took off and she’s starred in many famous films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday and My Fair Lady.

In 1988, Hepburn became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and spent five years doing work for many children’s charities. She has been honoured with many awards for her humanitarian work, including The International Humanitarian Award and the UNICEF Children’s Champion Award. Now, The Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund still continues even after her death in 1993.


Billie Jean King

“Be ahead of your time, that’s what you have to do”


US tennis legend, Billie Jean King, spent her life fighting for equality and freedom, as well as winning 20 Wimbledon titles. Her boundary-smashing career saw her go head to head with chauvinistic male player, Bobby Riggs. The pair played each other in the first ever mixed gender match following Riggs’ comment that men were superior athletes. King won the match, $100,000 and subsequently the hearts of the nation. Recently, the story was turned into a film, Battle of the Sexes.

In 1973, King founded the Women’s Tennis Association, which saw President Obama award her the medal of freedom in 2009, praising her work off court for changing how women athletes and women everywhere view themselves.

Michelle Obama

“The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Michelle Obama’s career has only taken off since her husband became the 44th president of the United States. However, this Ivy League graduate had built a successful career before being in the public eye; she began as a lawyer and then moved into the private sector. Inspirational for many reasons, including being the first African-American first lady, Michelle Obama now dedicates her to time to being an advocate for military families, working on programmes for education and employment for veterans, her school-based work to solve the childhood obesity epidemic with a campaign called Let’s Move!.

Obama continues to be a role model for many women – and men – with her relatable and down-to-earth personality and significant reach through her social media channels.

Amelia Earhart

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”

It’s been said that Amelia Earhart gave women their wings, quite literally. She smashed through glass ceilings and soared past society’s perception of women, obtaining many records. Not only was she the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, she was only one of six women to be issued a pilot’s licence, as well as setting a world altitude record of 18, 415 feet. Not only that, Earhart also joined ‘The Ninety Nines’, which was an organisation of female pilots encouraging women to join aviation. The ground-breaking pilot is also known for many inspirational quotes that have inspired women for generations.


Emmaline Pankhurst

“Trust in God. She will provide”

Emmeline Pankhurst was the leader of The Suffragette movement – the group that helped women win the right to vote. British political activist, Pankhurst was imprisoned many times for her social and political work.

Sadly, she died shortly before women were given full voting rights, however the work that The Suffragettes, and particularly Emmeline Pankhurst did, still carries through to today.

Armandine Lucile Aurore Dupin

“We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.”

Most known for her romantic novels, the French writer wrote about lead female characters and how they rose up against their male counterparts. Writing under the pseudonym George Sand, she wrote about work and love, and surpassing the obstacles of convention and class.

J.K. Rowling

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”

The real-life story of JK Rowling inspires millions of people around the world, as well as her non-fiction stories inspiring generations. Once a single mother on benefits, Rowling transformed herself into a multi-millionaire author in just a few short years. The Harry Potter writer was rejected from many publishers before getting her first deal and the rest, as they say, is history. A professor at Wharton Business School has even named the author the most influential person in the world, citing that the Harry Potter books have reached more people than the bible. J.K. Rowling’s tenacity is a testament of what can happen when you follow your dreams.


Queen Elizabeth 2nd

“It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.”

This inspirational woman is the longest-reigning English Monarch in history. Ascending the throne in 1952, she has witnessed and accomplished a great deal, including the change in attitudes towards women. During her reign, she has travelled to countries that her predecessors hadn’t and that, combined with visiting over 120 countries, makes her the most travelled monarch, too. Her longevity and dedication to her position makes her journey one of the most inspiring as she heads up the most modern monarchy making it relevant in today’s modern and ever-evolving society.

Kate Middleton

“My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty, and I realise how central values like these have been to me throughout my life.”

Keeping it in the Royal family, the Duchess of Cambridge has stood by Prince William’s side since they got married in April 2011. Though she’s an inspiration in her own right thanks to her work for mental health. Along with Prince William and Prince Harry, the Royals have started a campaign called Heads Together, to help change attitudes, address the taboos, and to raise awareness about mental health.


Joan of Arc

“I am not afraid… I was born to do this.”

Joan of Arc most famously led the French army to victory over the English at Orleans at just 18. A humble farm girl, Joan became a warrior and military leader. She was later recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church, and her name is synonymous with being a strong woman and a true heroine of France.

Simone de Beauvoir

Mostly known for being a writer, this French feminist used her writing as a platform for freedom of speech. The women’s rights activist, and avid philosopher wrote predominantly about ethics, feminism and politics. In one of her most well-known writings, The Second Sex, she wrote brusquely about how women have been relegated to immanence and taken a passive role in society. This book helped to shape the ever-raging gender debate that still continues to happen now. Beauvoir leaves behind a legacy that has pioneered generations of women.

Marie Curie

“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.”

Marie Curie is one of the most famous scientists that ever lived and her name is still pertinent in science and research today. Curie is the winner of two Nobel Peace Prizes for her work in chemistry and physics. However, even with these accolades under her belt, her male peers did not accept her. She battled sexism throughout her entire career and came up against doubt and questions over her work and family life, but Curie did not let this affect her. She was relentless in her work, and as such, her research uncovered Radium and contributed to the development of X-rays, including equipping ambulances with equipment in World War One, and even driving them to the front line herself.

Émilie du Châtelet

“To be happy, one must rid oneself of prejudice, be virtuous and healthy, and have a capacity for enjoyment and for passion.”

Mistress to French enlightenment writer, Voltaire, Émilie du Châtelet was a gifted mathematician, together, they spearheaded Newton’s revolution in France. Inspiring a new generation of women mathematicians, du Châtelet overcame challenges that kept women from becoming scientists and continues to inspire women today.


These are just a few inspirational women, but we know that there are millions of strong and influential women, working hard every day inspiring women around the world. This Mother’s Day, treat the inspirational women in your life to a champagne brunch at Côte and join our competition for a chance to win a year’s supply of Bloom & Wild flowers.

Here’s to inspirational women everywhere: may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.