Today is International Women’s Day. I think it’s a really important time to think about how women have shaped the world, past, present and future. Also to think about the injustices that still face women around the world and what we can all do together to change that. To find out more have a look at the International Women’s Day website.
I want to share a list of women that inspire me and who I look up to, so here goes!
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a young Pakistani advocate for female education and now the youngest ever Nobel prize laureate. She was shot in the head by the Taliban just for going to school, and miraculously survived. Her story shook the world, and she has used that to continue to speak out against the Taliban and for girl’s education around the world, seeing education as a way to empower women out of poverty. She has had to leave her home and everything she knew. She is fearless and amazing!
2. Emmeline Pankhurst
Emmeline was the founder of various women’s organisations to fight for the right to vote. Literally fighting in some cases, as she founded the more militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) also known as the Suffragettes, who threw bricks through windows, started fires and went on hunger strikes in prisons. During the war they halted their cause to join the war effort. Married women or women who owned property were first allowed to vote, then women over 30, but she didn’t give up and just a few weeks after her death women were granted equal voting rights with men.
I recommend her book ‘My Own Story’ which details their efforts up until the war broke out, and shows just how long it took, how much opposition they faced, and just how militant they became!
3. Nicki Minaj
Despite what many people think about Nicki Minaj she is a very intelligent woman, and she is passionate about women and the inequalities she see’s, especially in the rap music industry. A lot of what people don’t like about Nicki is the way she acts, much of which is just how the men in that industry act. She talks a lot about being seen as a bitch when she acts in a strong powerful way, where a man might be seen as a boss. I just like her! I think she’s funny, she is unapologetic, she is body positive and she is outspoken, all things that women are often told they can’t be. Here’s a Buzzfeed article with some great quotes by her.
4. J K Rowling
Because Harry Potter. I love the mix of characters in her books, and the stories, it’s just my childhood! She wrote some really strong women in the book, as mothers, teachers, fighters, sportspeople, politicians. Successful, intelligent, beautiful, evil, good. And also, because she fell off of the Forbes Rich List as she gave so much money to charity!
5. April Ludgate (Parks and Recreation)
April Ludgate is my spirit animal and my alter ego. She says all the things I would want to say if it was socially acceptable. Buzzfeed!
6. Lucy Holmes
Lucy began a petition to ask The Sun’s editor to remove page 3 photos of topless girls from the ‘news’paper. Since then she has gathered huge amounts of supporters and opponents. Much of it has come in the form of abuse and online trolling, even at times from the ‘news’paper itself. Where I feel I might have given up and hidden under a rock, which is what they want, she hasn’t done. She has grown the campaign, organised protests, and continuously answered ignorant and boring questions from people. Read more about the No More Page 3 campaign and like them on facebook if you want to get involved.
7. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Jane had an abusive childhood, no family, sent away to a boarding school where everyone is really mean! She ends up working as a teacher in the school she went to. She advertised and got herself a job as a governess in a large house, she made prospects for herself. She was plain and quiet but she wasn’t going to be treated like she was worth nothing.
“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”
8. Grumpy Cat
BECAUSE SHE IS SO DONE WITH EVERYTHING AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN CARE. And she’s cute.