International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women’s equality.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we wanted to share just a handful of the women who inspire us. From scientists to activists, medicine to exercise, they have all made a mark on the world, and on us.
Award-winning Marie Catherine Colvin was an American journalist who worked as a foreign affairs correspondent, for the British newspaper The Sunday Times from 1985 until her death. She didn’t need its seal of authority on her work; her reputation outshone the paper that published her. Colvin was brave, bold, any edge of recklessness blunted by the fact that her work really had achieved what most journalists dream of when they start their career – saving lives by bearing witness.
A true voice of our time Colvin shone a light on the plight of millions and inspired a film to be made of her life.
She taught us that the hardest stories are the most important to tell and the truth will always out.
Gina took a stand against upskirting, after experiencing it herself at a festival. She campaigned and worked tirelessly for 18 months, almost single-handedly, pushing a bill through parliament and finally in February 2019 making upskirting illegal.
This is just the start for Martin, who is turning her passion for justice to support others striving to also right the wrongs in the world.
She taught us that one voice is enough to make a change, you just have to believe in yourself.
Why she inspires us: Curie was a pioneering, two-time Nobel Prize-winning scientist, whose research into radioactivity saved countless lives.
She taught us perseverance: Curie was unable to attend University in Poland (because she was a woman) so decided to up sticks and move to Paris, just to continue her education.
Famous Quotes by Curie:
“I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.”
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
“Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.”
Jane Seymour Fonda is an American actress, writer, producer, political activist, fitness guru, and former fashion model. She is the recipient of various accolades including two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Honorary Golden Lion.
Despite a career filled with accolades, Fonda is best known for inspiring a generation of women to get active with her fitness videos.
She taught us that reinvention is possible at any age: ‘It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.’
Jennie is the CEO of Sport England, and the brains behind the tremendously successful #ThisGirlCan campaign, launched back in early 2015, which persuaded 2.8 million women to become more active. The campaign tackled what many had perceived as a gender gap for women in sport. The only child of a sports-mad father, Jennie said in a previous interview: ‘The power of sport to create a spectacle and engage and connect people is one of the things I grew up with.’
She taught us that the power of a few can inspire the lives of so many!
Susan Solomon is internationally recognized as a leader in atmospheric science, particularly for her insights in explaining the cause of the Antarctic ozone “hole”. She and her colleagues have made important contributions to understanding chemistry/climate coupling, including leading research on the irreversibility of global warming linked to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, and on the influence of the ozone hole on the climate of the southern hemisphere. Her current focus is on issues relating to both atmospheric chemistry and climate change.
She taught us that one woman can change the future of the entire planet.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States – she is the second ever female justice to be appointed the Supreme Court and at 84 years of age, is still one of the most revered members of the US justice system. She has long been an advocate and a voice for gender equality and women’s rights and is considered a feminist icon.
She taught us that where we come from, our age, our gender, do not need to dictate where we end up in life.