Are you tired of being ‘beige’ or not achieving your full potential?

Against the Wind: How women can be their authentic selves in male-dominated professions (MHPublishing, now Publish Central) is the compelling story of Jen’s distinguished career in the Australian military and how she navigated obstacles and discrimination to challenge the status quo and achieve success in her own right — by choosing to be the master of her own destiny.

In her book, Jen disputes the advice given to women that they need to learn to say no more often. She explains, ‘Of course women should decline routine or administrative work that men avoid. But saying YES to high-visibility projects and leadership responsibilities can give women the leverage they need to achieve their full potential.’

Unfortunately, in Jen’s experience, women are conditioned to say no too often, and for the wrong reasons. ‘Women say no because they think they’re not experienced enough, not good enough, because they lack confidence or suffer from imposter syndrome… So, we must distinguish when it’s right to say yes.’

Instead Jen, who has carved an exciting international career advising in Gender, Peace and Security — by saying yes to opportunities — says: ‘Be like Richard Branson. Say yes, even if you don’t know how to do the thing. And work it out later.’

Against the Wind is filled with practical advice to guide and stretch every woman looking to succeed on her own terms in a world that is dominated by men. The book shows women how to work out what they want in their career and life, and their personal values. The book, like Jen’s consulting, is focused on empowering women to ‘be what they can’t see’ and to bravely step up to tackle the ‘firsts’ that still remain in their profession.

We need women who are role models for the next generation and, as workplaces evolve, there are always going to be firsts. My mission with my work and my book is to help women own their own space, use their voice, and be heard.”

Against the Wind is a must for women who seek to realise their dreams.

Click here to read the Introduction

Book reviews

Jennifer Wittwer’s book comes as a practical guide to women in how to manage in such professions, deeply rooted in her own successful career in the Royal Australian Navy and her development into an internationally recognised figure in gender-related issues.  She populates richly her cogent advice with examples from her own life, some of which make difficult reading given their raw and upsetting facts, and some from the front line in Afghanistan.

This book isn’t a biography but a primer for professional women full of excellent and practical advice, taking a modern coaching and mentoring approach.  She addresses face-on the self-defeating tactics that some women use to fit in, such as becoming ‘one of the boys’, or relying on excessive feminisation.  It was on page 113 that the book came into sharp focus for me, I quote:

“You just need to be you, just your authentic self – someone not afraid to be themselves, and not afraid of their femininity.”

The theme of women achieving authenticity in their professional roles, despite challenging behaviour in the workplace, is the bedrock of the many tools, hints and tips that garland this ground-breaking book.  The author is someone who has faced many (or most) of the difficulties of a male dominated culture, but powered through to become an advisor at the highest level of the Australian Defence Forces, operational theatres and in the United Nations.  It is, therefore, not a work to be dismissed lightly by those responsible for improving the gender-related behaviours and culture in their own organisations.  It has been written for women and I have suggested to the author that a similar volume of practical advice and guidance of achieving culture change for leaders would be an invaluable addition.

I am delighted to say that she writes authentically in the first person which makes the book very accessible and easy to read.  Production standard is high and it is soft backed and can easily fit into a day bag for ready consultation or reading on the train!

Very highly recommended for women making their way in demanding male-dominated professions, particularly the Armed Forces and enlightened leaders of the opposite sex who want to make things better for their female colleagues. – Paul Quinn OBE, Captain Royal Navy (Rd)

“This is a brilliant book to have. Not only is it beautifully presented but it is packed full of insightful information that enables the reader to engage extraordinary guidance and expert advice. I highly recommend this book as one of the best written on topic. But loads of good take away points for other demographics too. Well done Jen… yours is a significant contribution to knowledge.”

Kay Danes, OAM, international author and humanitarian

“I am finding a LOT of inspiring reading…as well as insightful perspectives of the male/female relationship in the work place..But I do feel that the subject of ATW makes it an important book… actually a VERY important book…I am grateful to have a copy…and to feel the journey, the energy and belief you lived that made it happen.And it truly is inspiring me to take on work that perhaps I might not have before reading ATW. Thank YOU.”

 Garth Porter, Australian singer/songwriter

“I…read some sections and was impressed.  You have an amazing ability to make it relevant and thought provoking.   Clearly it is targeted to the female audience but as a Manager in a Family Violence Investigation Unit (gendered crime theme) and staff of equal females I was able to identify with points you raised and makes me challenge myself to be the person you speak of as a male in the policing world.”

– Detective Sergeant, Victoria Police

Interested in purchasing the book?

Available to purchase through major online bookstores: Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository etc.

In Canberra, copies available at Paperchain in Manuka, BookFace at Gunghalin, National Library of Australia, and Muse at East Hotel, Kingston.

However, if you would like to support me directly, you can purchase through the ‘Pay Now’ link below. Thank you.

RRP $29.95. Postage of $12.00 (for Australia only) will be added on checkout. Please contact me on for advice on postage for overseas.