International Women’s Day is here, and we thought IMPACT would reflect on who our most inspiring women are.
Nicole: My first inspiration is Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. My kids own a copy of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and Malala’s story is the one that resonates the most with them.
I couldn’t decide so I have a second one, Wonder Woman (and the Bionic Woman) – growing up with these two strong female TV characters (and my real-life mother) I believed that girls could be anything they want and do anything they put their minds to. Sadly, gender inequality was only something I encountered when I first entered the workforce in the late 80s.
Frances: I’m choosing Jacinda Ardern, a 37-year-old progressive female, feminist Prime Minister with social and youth issues at the forefront of agenda, solidifying election promises left right and centre, AND growing a human being. What a legend!!
Victoria: Olivia de Havilland is at the top of my list. At the age of 101, this two-time Oscar winner has been fighting for women to be on an equal footing in Hollywood across two centuries! Olivia pushed back on Warner Bros when she continued to received scripts where female characters were simply seen as the love interest; demanding roles with more substance.
She’s still not taking any stick, and last year announced that she was suing FX and Ryan Murphy Productions over the unauthorized use of her identity in the recent miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan. You get em Olivia!
Candi: My inspiration is Katharine Graham. I like how her personal story is also her professional one; the journey of a shy, introverted, nervous widow who went on to become the American publisher of The Washington Post; taking it from a mediocre newspaper to an American institution. She also oversaw its most acclaimed period, the Watergate coverage that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Katherine was also America’s first female Fortune 500 CEO, and by throwing the playbook out the window and breaking all the rules she proved you can be a woman, have power, make a difference and inspire others to achieve greatness.
“The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex” – Katherine Graham
Katie: As a massive Harry Potter fan, I spent my teens loving Emma Watson as an actress. As she grew up and out of being just the actress who played Hermione Granger, she continues to inspire me. From studying English literature at Brown, to her role in The Perks of Being a Wildflower, her ethical fashion line and her work with the UN Women campaign HeForShe, Emma Watson is an incredible role model for women across the globe.
Ruby: Mine is Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist, humanitarian and women’s rights activist born into slavery in 1822 in the United States. She escaped slavery at the age of 27 and she returned to the South over 19 times to rescue her family and hundreds of other slaves.
Harriet spent her whole life fighting for what was right. She was able to stand up against the kind of suffering and injustice few of us can even imagine and willingly put her own life a risk countless times to help others.
Jen: Mary Robinson! First woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She became the youngest and first female President of Ireland and forged her role as a passionate and forceful advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. She is without doubt one of the most incredible and accomplished women to emerge from my homeland of Ireland and, in my humble opinion, one of the most inspiring women of our age.
Prue: I’m going with the one and only Coco Chanel. In a time where women were expected to wear skirts and corsets, she gave women their freedom by dressing them in pants and suits. Chanel liberated women through fashion and that is something I am very grateful for. Plus, who doesn’t love a power suit!
Jayde: My pick is Ashley Graham, body activist and model. I personally find Ashley to be very inspiring for women of all ages, especially since social media has had a negative impact on many women’s perception on their own body image and overall self-esteem. I believe it’s important to promote self-love no matter what age, gender, race, size or religion you are. Happy International Women’s Day!
“Back fat, I see you popping over my bra today. But that’s alright—I’m going to choose to love you. Thick thighs, you’re just so sexy you can’t stop rubbing each other. That’s alright, I’m going to keep you. And cellulite, I have not forgotten about you—I’m going to choose to love you, even though you want to take over my whole bottom half.” – Ashley Graham