International Womens Day 2020
Today is International Women’s Day. A day to promote not just women, as many complain about each year, but also equality. It’s a sad fact that women still face unfair bias, prejudice and disadvantage the world over so the day that raises awareness of this inequality by lifting women is no bad thing in our book.
We want to mark the day by celebrating the people we admire the most. We asked you what you thought and a good few people came back and nominated themselves. Fair play to you ladies! Give yourselves a huge pat on the back and applaud yourselves! We heartily agree!
We also like these people…
I would have to say my most inspirational woman is Jacinda Ardern. For those that haven’t heard of her, she is New Zealand’s Prime Minister. I just love how she manages to handle all crises so elegantly. She comes across as a really nice person who has empathy and compassion, something that you rarely see in politics.
I was totally in awe of the fact she became pregnant not long after her successful ascent to office! She was New Zealand’s first ever prime minister to be pregnant whilst in office. I don’t know how she did it! I also think it’s incredibly brave to have one of the most important jobs in the world but then also say ‘I want to and will have a baby’!
She is absolutely amazing and I just love everything she stands for. She intends to halve child poverty in New Zealand within a decade by creating a Families Package that will increase paid parental leave by 22 weeks and 26 weeks from July 2020 and pay $60-a-week to low- and middle-income families with young children. She voted in favour of same-sex marriage. She believes abortion should be removed from the Crimes Act. And she is the first prime minister of New Zealand to march in a gay pride parade. Wow! She’s definitely my woman of International Womens Day!
As well as these amazing things she is doing her best to end conflicts among religious groups. I remember the powerful image in the news when she visited the local Muslim community in a hijab, hugging and comforting those who were there.
If only all leaders could take a leaf out of her book.
Cindy Gallop is my hero of all women! After making a huge name for herself in advertising, she quit everything to work on her #MakeLoveNotPorn initiative, which aims to stop the world believing that modern day porn is real life. Whilst her website might not be for everyone (that’s your warning if you choose to google it!), the sentiment is one we can all get behind. Especially if we have a vested interest in future generations having a healthy attitude towards the opposite sex
Cindy herself is ballsy. Confident. Fantastic! The fact her tagline is “I like to blow shit up” is good enough reason for me to declare her one of my favourite people in the world!
She also gave me the best career advice I’ve ever had: “when talking salary, ask for the highest number you can’t say without laughing.”
And she means it.
HOORAY for Cindy!
This last year has been the most eventful in my life and I have met so many incredible people. I can’t actually pick one favourite woman for International Womens Day. So I’m not going to! I’m going to pick lots!
First up for me are two women who encouraged and enabled me to take ownership of the birth of my third child back in May last year. Tanya Ashton (runner up midwife of the year) and Shirley Stump (doula, hypnobirthing practitioner and all round pregnancy supporter). These women helped me overcome the trauma of my second delivery to have a natural home birth that left me with a smile on my face and fully recovered mere days later. Their empathy, solidarity and compassion opened my mind to a whole new world. And they didn’t just do it for me. They spend their lives doing this for other women and get paid peanuts for doing it. They blow my mind.
Second for me is a previous hero of ours, Lauren Currie OBE. I have met Lauren a few times recently and am always so impressed and inspired by her actions, her demeanor and her values. She says what she believes in, she acts on it and she owns it. She won’t be put in a corner for anyone! Last week I attended her #Upfront confidence workshop which she has delivered to hundreds of women and yet she still had time to message me afterwards. I genuinely feel her belief in me. Its extraordinary how much stronger you feel when someone like that has your back.
Third up is Nina Malone of Dope Black Mums. She so impressed me on stage with three comedians at Pregnant Then Screwed with her candour, her challenge and her balance. She spoke with such clarity and with an air of calm I found really grounding and peaceful. She was also delightful when I met her afterwards and is just lovely.
I could go on and on with this feature. I haven’t even written about my old uni mates Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis, who recently published a Times bestseller, The Squiggly Career. Tanya Dolan the (most helpful) woman who is working tirelessly to change equality in the Aviation sector, and Kaarjal Nathwani who’s killing it in the Employment Law world, both of whom I met at a WLAM (Women Legal and Mothers) event recently. There’s Ursula Tavender the woman giving businesses everything they need to make flexible working work so there are no more excuses. Kathryn Tyler of Digital Mums has taken a huge gamble on us and given me lessons in resilience that I wouldn’t have been able to hear from anyone else. Ed Foy of Press London for his speedy, insightful and matter of fact approach to our investment plans. The list goes on.
My favourite thing about this new job of mine is the inspirational people (mostly women!) that I come across every day. There are so many incredible people out there sticking their head above the parapet and trying to bring more balance to the world. They all have something valuable to say and you know what? I want to hear it and you should too!
I couldn’t write this without noting one more person. You may well roll your eyes at this, but it’s my husband. If International Women’s Day is about the drive for equality then this guy (in my circle), should be the ambassador. Ever since we agreed we would have children and I started harping on about how it had to be 50:50, he’s stuck by it. Sure we have our peaks and troughs from week to week but his emphatic belief that I will bring women across this country the flexible work they want and need makes him and his support something to be applauded. If more husbands were like him about work then I might not have this job!
Keep doing what you’re doing amazing people and one day there won’t be a need for days like International Womens Day!
Jess, Nic & Gem