You’re likely already aware that today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. IWD is a day people across the world come together to recognise the plight of women over the years and a day to mark the struggle for women’s rights. Throughout history, there have been a number of incredible women dedicated to changing this world for the better and who have shaped our futures – some of whom you may not even know.
We asked our staff to submit a photograph of the inspiring women in their lives – whether it be their mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, daughter, great grandmother, friend, cousin, or even just a public figure that has made an impact on their life for the better. Here are just a few of their stories.
Helena Sandles: The Women Who Made New York
“I have a great admiration for New York City, and this book written by Julie Scelfo is filled with insightful portraits of the women who influenced all facets of the city, which is widely known to have a male-centred past. “After centuries of women’s work being written out of history, The Woman Who Made New York gracefully and passionately rewrites that wrong” – Irin Carmon.”
Lesley Taylor: Her Mum, Norma
“Though not very original, I would have to say my Mum!
But to name a few reasons:
My mum is originally from the Philippines and came to the UK when she was 20 years old. She left her job as a Spanish teacher in a Filipino University, after having graduated from a History and Politics degree, to work in the UK.
This amazing lady travelled alone from the Philippines to the UK and started working as a chambermaid in the Royal Scot Hotel in London, where she became head of her team in just a few months. After a couple of years she met my dad (AKA her Paul McCartney), got married and raised me and my sister single-handedly, with no family of her own nearby to help and my dad working all hours to support us.
I owe my love of travel, adventure, languages, smile, ability to cook rice to perfection every time, love of pansit (Filipino noodles) and paella (Asian and Spanish style), flip-flops, dusting (well maybe not), desire to try something new, determination (sometimes fiery) in testing times and open heart to my mum.”
Robin Morrill: His Mom, Sally
“My mom gave up her career to look after three boys (five including dad and dog!). She’s a breast cancer survivor and still the most selfless person I know.”
Marie Jackson: Architect, Zaha Hadid
“Born in Baghdad in the 1950s, Zaha Hadid went on to become arguably the most successful female architect of our time. She designed iconic structures globally, she had award winning vision and an unwavering determination to push the boundaries of design.
In the face of adversity she executed resilience and despite her self-confessed shyness, established a legacy in what’s tended to be a male dominated industry for generations. Zaha Hadid is a role model for not just aspiring female architects or designers, but for all women who wish to achieve their goals in life.”
David Shave: His daughter, Briar
“Briar inspires me in a much harder environment for girls to grow up in – social media pressures, body image and other factors but she’s nailing it.”
Angela Hutchinson: Her Mum, Margaret
“This is my Mum who died five years ago after being ill for over 10 years. She very rarely moaned and lived life to the full every day despite being quite poorly.
To this day I try and laugh in the face of aches, pains, colds and coughs, after seeing someone so ill who had no choice. I know it’s a cliché but she taught me to only take serious stuff seriously and enjoy every day you have, don’t sweat the small stuff!”
Zina Arib: Runner, Katherine Switzer
“One (among many others) woman who truly inspires me is Kathrine Switzer, who is the first woman who ran the Boston Marathon in 1967, where the organisers tried to stop her. I think this picture is so powerful because the strength of this woman who will run, no matter what, is almost tangible.
Also, it reminds me of just how far we’ve come, because not so long ago we couldn’t even run. I believe we should celebrate International Women’s Day every day.”
Emma Adcock: Her Mother, Sister, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Rigg and Hedy Lamarr
“My Mum and My Sister
My mum is the most courageous, kind and hard working woman in the world, and she is a massive part of her community. She inspires me every day with her compassion and huge work ethic.
My sister inspires me as she’s the kind of person who makes time for people and is genuinely interested in them. Funny, clever with a brilliant ability to make everyone feel special.
Image Credits: Pinterest
A true innovator and complete legend – her music and collaborations led the way in jazz and swing.
Diana Rigg inspires me as she’s strong-willed, determined and classy – she chooses roles and characters where she’s the boss and always owns it!
Though she was controversial, Hedy Lamarr inspires me as she was curious beyond her beauty – and actively invented and used her brains too.”
Becky Davey: Her Daughter, Holly
“My daughter Holly is by far the most inspiring woman in my life. She may be young, but she sees the good and the beauty in people that others three or four times her age might not. She has helped me to see and appreciate this too – it’s made me such a better person because of this. She makes me so, so proud. Seeing her excel in her talents has really inspired me to push towards my own goals and to achieve things I didn’t think I could. Holly has inspired me through her courage, resilience, humility and love and I couldn’t be prouder to call her my daughter.”
Elle Reece: Her Mum, Fifi
“My mama – women inspire every day, mothers, colleagues, friends, sisters, wives. It’s important to bond together and inspire each other to be stronger. I believe nothing is more powerful than a woman, because everyone needs a woman, mothers, colleagues, friends, sisters, wives. My Mum is my inspiration and I’m always learning from her.”
Robb Frost: Bass Player, Carol Kaye
“Carol Kaye is one of the most incredible bass players from the 60s – yet very few people have ever heard of her. In a male dominated world, she was better than them all – and probably played more bass lines people dance to than any other player! She was extremely talented, often having to write music spontaneously, and helped so many of the big names craft their songs.”
Zak Hasse: His Grandmother, Trude
“The woman who inspires me most was my Grandma. She came to England (alongside her sister) from Vienna, Austria when she was just eight years old in 1938. They travelled on the Kinder Transport to escape the country before WW2 as her family were Jewish. Even though she was very young, she left behind her parents and her little brother who unfortunately died in the war. What made it harder was that her and her sister were separated in England also, with both going to stay with different families who were total strangers to them, but who kindly took them in.
My Grandma didn’t know any English when she arrived and quickly had to learn the language through listening at school. She inspires me because it shows that even when you feel like you’re all alone in the world, if you’re as strong as my Grandma was, you can get through anything.”
Marta Espallargas: Her Mum, Consuelo
“She’s not just a brave woman that raised (and continues to carry on raising…) three girls, but she is also a friend, a listener, a role model. That’s my amazing and beautiful mum.”
Alexa Cobbold: Her Girl Gang, Alex, Luiza, Nic and Leanne
“These girls right here are the ones who inspire me. They’re some of my best friends and are so beautiful and fierce and full of girl power, sass, creativity and positivity – they make me feel so blessed every single day. Oh – and not forgetting the queen of Girl Power, Taylor Swift…”
Rich Morland: Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher
“I would have to say, one of the women I most admire is Margaret Thatcher. This amazing woman was the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, and the first female PM to have held office. She pulled the country out of dire straits and was well renowned for her resilience and toughness.”
Matt Kowalski: His Mom, Arleta
Our Inspirational Woman: COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg
“It’s no surprise our most inspirational woman has played a huge role in the world of digital, however Sheryl Sandberg has many other incredible qualities outside of her role as Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Not only has she been a key figure at Facebook (and the first woman to ever serve on the Facebook board!) but she is a mother, a widow, a member of the board for five organisations, including The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women and the Center for Global Development, an activist, an author and a Harvard Graduate – phew, is there anything this lady can’t Do?”
Who are the inspirational women in your life?
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