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Gold Coast women who #choosetochallenge – Harriet Brown

Natalie O’Driscoll | April 26, 2021

We talk to five Gold Coast women who embody the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

This International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. So what does that mean? A challenged world is an alert world. We can all choose to make the world a better place by challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality. These high profile Gold Coast women do just that, whether it’s through their businesses, direct action, personal efforts or some combination of all three. Hear Harriet’s story.



Harriet Brown – Ironwoman

Harriet Brown is a World Ironwoman Champion, Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series Champion, Australian Team Captain and Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard Champion. She is also an accomplished ocean swimmer, exercise physiologist, athlete mentor and coach, pilates instructor and public speaker. She has travelled the world competing in Surf Life Saving and Paddleboard racing, most recently captaining the winning Australian Team at the World Surf Life Saving Championships. After recently breaking her foot, Harriet championed through to answer some questions for us following major surgery.

Do you have any advice for young women wanting to achieve great things in sport?

As a young girl growing up I never really thought that I could become a professional athlete. I saw many male professional athletes (especially in AFL) but wasn’t exposed to pathways for women. Since leaving Victoria and moving to the Gold Coast I have connected with so many inspiring women. These women have encouraged and driven me to chase my dreams in sport. They have shown me what is possible. My advice to young girls wanting to achieve great things in sport is to do what you love. Having a passion for your sport will make the training and dedication so much more achievable. Seek advice from others around you, take opportunities that excite and scare you and continue to learn. I am always learning about how I can improve my body, mind and performance.

This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge. How do you choose to challenge social norms, expectations of women and / or gender inequality in your life?

My #choosetochallenge is to continue to pick up on people when they make a comment about woman that is outdated and stereotypical. Some examples of this are; there have been many male athletes compete at an elite level as fathers but only a handful of women who do. Still in sport the men are praised and the woman questioned about the time they could be spending with their kids. When speaking with female athletes from a wide variety of sports it is evident that gender inequality still exists. I would like to continue to advocate for woman in sport and help bridge the gap to make it easier for young girls growing up in sport.



What does IWD mean to you?

IWD is a day to celebrate women, how far we have come and how far we need to go.

It’s a day we can reflect on the challenges many women before have overcome and draw strength from this as we move forward together. IWD is also a wonderful time to share stories from women from all walks of life.

What it’s been like living and working on the Gold Coast – Have you found a strong tribe here?

I have loved living and working on the Gold Coast for the past decade. There have been so many opportunities for me in my sport of Surf Ironwoman racing as well as my career as an Exercise Physiologist. The Gold Coast sporting community is special as there are so many incredible athletes based here for training. I was reminded of this when organising the Gold Coast Elite Sports Conference which brought together like-minded people to collaborate and learn from each other. For me the Gold Coast is the perfect place to live. My surf club, Northcliffe is the strongest club in the world, everything I need is within a 20 minute drive, the beaches are incredible and the café and food scene is great.  I made wonderful friends here on the Gold Coast, many who inspire me in different ways, business owners, athletes, and coaches.

Read about other Gold Coast women who embody the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.


Marion Charlton, Chief Operations Officer | Gold Coast Airport

Aimée Lindorff, Director | Gold Coast Film Festival

Evette Hess | Beauty Industry Mogul

Ella Fitzgerald | Artist and Photographer