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International Women's Day

(25 Posts)
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 07-Mar-14 17:07:25

Tomorrow is International Women's Day and to celebrate, we want to hear about the incredible/brave/pioneering/quietly determined women throughout history that have inspired you.

I'll start (if I may) with Judy Blume, fearless tackler of the (then) taboo issues that plague teenage girls. Also, Amelia Earhart - for sheer daring.

Take a look at the video, and share your most inspirational women below.

Anne58 Fri 07-Mar-14 17:21:12

Google seem to think it's today confused

LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 07-Mar-14 17:29:43

Think they're just eager phoenix...!

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 07-Mar-14 18:02:16

Flip me! That clangy music made me jump!

I don't remember being inspired at all. Perhaps it will soon happen smile

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 07-Mar-14 18:05:08

Are you good at flying aeroplanes Lucy? smile

grannyactivist Fri 07-Mar-14 19:41:30

Harriet Martineau was an inspirational woman who has been described as the founder of sociology. I came across her writings by accident and still remain surprised that she is still largely unknown. She's worth looking up on Wikipedia.

Joelsnan Fri 07-Mar-14 23:37:35

Rosalind Miles, the author of 'Who cooked the last supper' A woman's History of the World, for highlighting how history has relentlessly failed to acknowledge the impact of women throughout the ages. Many advances in technology, sociology, medicine, science the arts etc. can be directly attributable to a woman but are often credited to a man.

Granny23 Fri 07-Mar-14 23:57:50

When I became a part-time PAID Women's Aid worker back in the 1970s I entered a world full of the most inspirational women. With the odd flamboyant exception they appeared to be fairly ordinary (surprisingly? mainly 'happily married' women), taking a break from work to have a few years as full time mums or divorced single parents living on benefits. Many had met at a particular Mother & Toddler Group, where a WA member was an expert at spotting and 'encouraging' feisty women to join the WA group. There was no formal training then for new volunteers, instead each was paired with a longer established one and shadowed her until they learned the ropes. Hence the observation that WA workers, like nuns and polis, went around in pairs. There was no statutory funding available, so they undertook the usual round of fundraising jumble sales, etc. and a lot of prejudice and 'not in my back yard' to be countered but this group of determined women managed to set up a helpline, acquire premises for a five family refuge, a very small office/advice centre and eventually a small grant for 2 part-time paid workers mainly to cover the day time when they were tied up at home with children.

The same thing happened all over the UK during the early 70s with small groups of like minded women fighting to gain a toe hold for the emerging movement. By the end of the decade they had set up national federations which could offer training and guidance for new groups, most groups had a small grant income and public hostility was on the wane.

My tribute is to these inspirational women, who working collectively with no hierarchy, each member valued equally for what she could bring to the cause, achieved a sea change in attitudes, had laws changed, provided a net-work of help lines, advice centres, refuges and follow on housing, support, counselling, self assertiveness training and empowerment to thousands of women and children. To protect their own families from threatened retribution, volunteer's full names and addresses were never given out publicly and any press pictures had faces blanked out, so these extraordinarily brave heroines were and remain anonymous. It was accepted that close encounters with violent men etc. were never discussed outwith the group and certainly never revealed to partners or family for fear of worrying them. Thus a lot of the stories are untold.

DebnCreme Sat 08-Mar-14 00:09:43

A very tiny lady called Gladys Aylward inspired me when she gave a talk at my school and introduced us all to a man she called 'Sixpence'. Couldn't watch the film again after that.

janeainsworth Sat 08-Mar-14 02:21:38

debncreme I used to take Girl magazine and on the back, written by Chad Varah (I think) were biographies if famous women.
Gladys Aylward was one of them, and I think Grace Darling another.
The one who inspired me was Marie Curie.

JessM Sat 08-Mar-14 08:12:52

My mother was a primary teacher and told me at an early age that one of the teaching unions had opposed equal pay for women. I think I was a feminist from that moment on. Also grew up surrounded by women, so never thought men were at the centre of the universe.

MiceElf Sat 08-Mar-14 08:32:38

The first was a woman I argued with in C1959. Sister Mary Pauline insisted that Cliff Richard's Livin' Doll was demeaning to girls and women. My friends and I disagreed, but by skilful argument she made us change our minds.

I also greatly admire some of the outstanding women of history, Elisabeth Fry, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson and recently women such and Mary Robinson, and Mary Beard.

So many outstanding women who accomplished so much.

Nelliemoser Sat 08-Mar-14 08:51:50

I would add Dame Doreen Lawrence to that list. She has never given up "fighting"for justice.

Agus Sat 08-Mar-14 08:55:49

My Granny, my Mother and her sisters. All very strong capable women.

whenim64 Sat 08-Mar-14 09:08:33

Can I add a modern day inspirational woman - Camila Batmangelidgh. She's a psychotherapist who founded Kids Company, which supports vulnerable children. It has often been a ‘hand to mouth’ existence for the organisation and on two occasions she has re-mortgaged her flat to see it through its lack of funding. She and her team have raised £50 million since Kids Company began in 1996, and now they are partly government-supported.

Camila is flamboyant and striking in appearance, but there's a heck of a lot of substance to what she gives and inspires others to achieve.

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 08-Mar-14 09:40:33

Susan Boyle.

Stansgran Sat 08-Mar-14 10:20:30

May I add something which is not entirely in keeping with inspirational women but which made me jump today? We were driving along the Red River with China facing us. Row upon row of lorries. I counted over 100. We said to our guide I suppose there is plenty of smuggling. Yes he said electrical goods from China. I said does anything go from Viet nam to China. Expecting him to say nothing or drugs he said Women, there is a shortage in China and they get them from the villages ( which are lost in the mists here)
This morning at our hotel the path up was busy with motorbikes carrying ornate and fantastical bouquets for the pampered women staying at the hotel to celebrate Women's day . Later on we went to a Tay village where I was asked to join a group of women gazing at a bust of Ho Chi Min listening to what I think is called rape rap incredibly loud. My DH and I looked at each other in horror. Oh said the guide ,it is not nice but they don't understand. I've a feeling the singer was female. Sorry to be depressing but haven't we in the West a long way to go.
I admire Elizabeth Fry

boheminan Sat 08-Mar-14 10:56:03

Ann Pettitt and Helen John were two of the first women who walked to Greenham Common to form the Greenham Common Peace Camp. They were eventually joined in body and spirit by thousands of other women throughout the world. We changed history.

DebnCreme Sat 08-Mar-14 11:20:02

Janeainsworth I used to read Girl too. Did you ever join in their beach parties or holidays? Sorry totally off thread but oh those were the days - Eagle, Girl, Swift and Robin smile

annodomini Sat 08-Mar-14 16:41:41

I find Malala Yousafzai an inspirational young woman. Even before the assassination attempt, she was taking a lead in promoting the education of girls in her region of Pakistan. I hope she goes on to inspire the girls and women of the wider world.
Another woman I admire is Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, an articulate defender of human rights.

Geraldine62 Sat 08-Mar-14 20:20:12

I was inspired in my youth by the women of the suffragette movement,

in my early twenties I was inspired by Princess Diana, the Queen and don't judge me but Margaret Thatcher (I do Not Support her views, just her tenacity)
They were all very public figures and shaped my thinking, that a woman could do or be anything that she wanted if she put her mind to it!
I am not a royalist per say either, but I admired Diana for sticking up to the establishment, although equally I felt for the Queen,
Her Majesty has outlived and out ruled them all, and has devoted her life to this country whatever you think of royalty you have to respect and admire that!
Of course there are many other women , such as Mother Theresa, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Gaskell, Helen Keller, Ann Frank, Jane Austen, The Bronte's
all the many women behind the great men!
Last but not least my teacher, little Sister Catherine, who upon finding me crying in a corner after being bullied for the umpteenth time, taught me to stand up for myself by using my words and I have never looked back!
God Bless all good women I say and happy International Women's Day! flowers

janeainsworth Sat 08-Mar-14 20:36:05

Deb no I didn't - I was a bit of a wuss at that age with regard to being away from home.
But I thought Girl was a great magazine - it portayed women in roles outside the home and it was a pity when it stopped being published.

Should add I was also inspired by my English teacher, Miss Munro!

mollie Sat 08-Mar-14 20:42:52

I'm just glad that there have been and still are so many women willing to step forward and do what is necessary despite the opposition, hardship etc. It's not within me I'm sorry to say but I applaud anyone who has that extra bit of humanity within them. Good on them, I say.

Judthepud2 Sun 09-Mar-14 09:25:55

I'm a bit late joining this thread as IWD is over, but Mother Theresa was an amazing woman. She introduced me to the concept of unconditional love and her work with abandoned children was groundbreaking.

Currently there are 2 inspirational women who are giving me pause for though. The first is hardly even a woman, the young and incredibly brave Malala (can't spell her surname but you know who I mean). She speaks for all those oppressed women denied an education despite continued threats to her life.

The second is home grown here in Northern Ireland. Una McCrudden is dying of ovarian cancer but is using Twitter in her remaining time to highlight the lack of awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer so that more women can be diagnosed at an earlier stage. She herself was misdiagnosed for too long! See @OvarianUna if you want to follow.

Judthepud2 Sun 09-Mar-14 09:27:50

Sorry. That should be @Unacrudden. Her nickname is Ovarian Una.