I was conscious I couldn’t recycle the same blog I wrote about my favourite women for a third year but I also wasn’t sure of the angle I wanted to go from for this year’s International Women’s Day.
I struggle to talk about inspirational women of the past. I am grateful for everything they contributed, the barriers they bulldozed down, to us it felt as though they did it in one sledgehammered swoop but I know to them it must have felt like a long, laborious chisel away at something they never felt would change and yet it did because of them. We wouldn’t be where we are today and I will always recognise that. I wanted to, however, celebrate the women who do inspire me day to day. To celebrate the amazing work they do which due to the vastness of the internet goes so unnoticed. This is my little ODE to all the women out there, most of them I have never met and will never meet who inspire, motivate and move me on a daily basis.
I am sorry to many reading this it will feel like a narrow, misrepresented group and I am sure there will be many I miss off but I have done my best. And I am learning that is all I can do.
The women who inspire me to get out of bed each day – I am lucky to work and to be mentored by incredible women, in every aspect of my career. I joke about how I could never meet a boyfriend at my place of work because our workforce in my current role is about 80% of women but I wouldn’t want it any other way. On a daily basis in that role and in my friends I see how hard work, commitment, loyalty and innovative ideas can help me progress. It really does help me out of a dreary eyed slump in the morning.
The amazing woman in my life. I am not going to give you another post listing them all. They are the ones I look forward to speaking to when I wake up in the morning. They are my inspiration, my comfort via a voice note when I need to hear a familiar voice, a crutch to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, a motivational comment when needed. They are my agony aunts, my stylists, my make up artists, soundboard and idea testers. They are the ones I look forward to making new memories with each day. I will never take for granted how fortunate I am to have an incredible number of women to aspire to and motivate me on a daily basis.
The women who daringly breaking down the stigma of living life a little differently – I know Dolly Alderton doesn’t think she is doing anything groundbreaking, she is a 31-year-old woman living in London still actively dating but the day I was recommended ‘Everything I know about love’ and I devoured each and every page in one sitting, things massively shifted for me. I am forever grateful for women who can publically promote and advocate change in how society tells women to live their lives. I know the norms of marriage and children for women are slowly changing but for someone who lives in a small town not having the nuclear family set up is still secretly or unconsciously viewed as a failure. I am inspired by many women who can use their platform to openly share how modern life can be as enjoyable and filled with as much love and happiness than those who follow the structure of society.
The women who make me laugh -I am not a massive comedian/ comedy fan. I love to laugh, I love a good sense of humour but there are not many people I really rate as funny. (I know, I don’t know who gave me a platform to rate funniness when I am so quiet). I do however find London Hughes hilarious. She is brash, crude, explicit, loud, confident and absolutely hilarious. I love her. She is everything I could never be and maybe that is why I love her humour and comedy so much.
The women who motivate me to make the most of my mornings – I love following Adrienne. Adrienne is a TedX presenter, Adidas ambassador and host of the power hour podcast. As a fellow early bird, I always enjoy Adrienne’s podcast interviews with special guests on how they use their time in the mornings and the benefits of a Power Hour. I am always inspired by how working women, especially those with Children, maximise their time. Adrienne has always inspired me to make the most of every hour in the day especially around how to utilise my time most effectively.
The women who made me comfortable talking about my mental health – My mental health issues were always something I was ashamed of. It took me ten years to even admit I had struggled from anorexia, I could discuss the issue but I could never call it by its name. Bella Mackie changed so much for me. As a woman who had gone through horrendous mental health difficulties, a break down of her first marriage and had to overcome the overwhelming feeling of failure whilst dealing with OCD and depression finally made me feel less alone. Her bravery in speaking out makes me so much aware of my own struggles. Her openness gave labels to issues I wasn’t sure how to explain and made me more confident in sharing my own struggles and in doing so opened up so many mental health conversations with friends.
The women who make me want to be better to the planet – Venetia (was Falconer) La Manna is one of my favourite influencers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and podcast hosts at the moment. I came across Venetia via her podcast Talking Tastebuds where she shares episodes on mental health, veganism and sustainability. Venetia actively uses her social media platforms to campaign for sustainability and highlights the dangers of fast fashion and the impact it has on the planet and women. 80% of garment makers are women so fast fashion is absolutely a feminist issue. She makes me reflect daily about the impact I have on the environment and to actively shop second hand and sustainably only. Venetia and Lauren Bravo the author of ‘How to break up with fast fashion’ have really changed my outlook on my shopping, style and what I regard to style and fashion to be. Killing the planet doesn’t look pretty on anyone.
The women who influence so positively on the internet – I started following Florence Given last summer on a friends recommendation. Florence grew her following with her ‘dump him’ and ‘stop raising him he’s not your son’ artwork. For someone almost ten years younger than I am, I sometimes felt embarrassed Florence has such a strong grasp and understanding of who she is and what she represented but I soon let go of that and learned so much about my own value. Not only has her influence made me address how I let men treat me but she is a huge advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and social justice, a wise wise head on such young shoulders. She was named influencer of the year which was completely well deserved.
The female-forward films and TV which inspired me – Hidden figures and On the basis of sex are two films I watched side by side and firstly became thankful I was born in a time of technology but secondly, in a time where women such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson had lived and made such an impact towards the lives and paths of other women. These are the goosebump raising stories, the tales of hard work, determination, grit, breaking down barriers, stigma and going against all the odds to change the world. They are two films you have to watch and thankfully, On the Basis of sex is on Amazon Prime and Hidden Figures is on Netflix. Lastly…. HBO Girls – ok hear me out with this because I know Hannah Horvath isn’t the most admirable female fictional character, there is but HBO Girls wrote and directed by Lena Dunham was the most mainstream series which I actually felt represented and again I am sorry that it is an all-white cast (Lena has done a lot of interviews around this). The series was built around female friendships navigating themselves through their 20s in New York and whilst the series often shows their lives as a bit of a mess I think the narrative represented so many groups of my friends. I learned so much from watching this series and it will forever stay as one of my favourite, feminist, millennial, (almost) inclusive, body-positive series.
The Podcasts which inspire me as a woman – How to fail by Elizabeth day exploring why learning how to fail is only learning how to succeed better. The High Low for all things current, topical, feminist and reading worthy, they have helped me through breakups, friendship woes, and anxiety-riddled times. Adulting with Oenone Forbat the podcast figuring out all the grown-up stuff we were never taught in school. This has fast become my most relevant and informative podcast to listen to.
The female-forward books I love reading the most –Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Everything I know about love- Dolly Alderton, Three women – Lisa Taddeo, Feminists don’t wear pink – Scarlette Curtis, Invisible women- Caroline Criado Perez,Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Promising Young Women – Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney,
Here’s to strong women may we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. Happy International Women’s day.