Feminism News

International Women’s Day: The women that inspire us

From northern Nanas to trans rights activists, here are the women that inspire us

So, it’s International Women’s Day! A day of celebrating women all over the world and working together to bring about positive change for us. In honour of the event, I decided to ask some female pals who inspires them and why. So, without further ado, here are the women that inspire us:

Amanda Lindhout

Portrait_of_Amanda_Lindhout_by_Steven_CartyAmanda Lindhout was a freelance journalist from Red Deer, Alta in Canada. She travelled extensively throughout her twenties visiting every country she possibly could.

I identified with this as someone who struggles to stay in one place for a long time and a freelance journalist, I often dream of exploring and often, I can make those dreams a reality. Amanda showed incredible courage (or as some may argue naivety) in visiting war torn countries to take photos and report.

In August 2008, she was joined by Australian photographer Nigel Brennan on a trip to Somalia where they were both kidnapped in Mogadishu by gunmen. Amanda was beaten, sexually assaulted, shackled and tortured during her time in captivity which
totally 460 days.

Amanda made a promise to herself in her last days of captivity that if she survived; she would go on to help the women of the country. She went on to form the Global Enrichment Foundation which is a non-profit organisation fostering leadership in Somalia through education and community based programs while undertaking humanitarian and life-saving emergency interventions in times of crisis.

She has visited 90 countries in total and is now a powerful inspirational speaker based in Calgary, Canada. To read more of Amanda’s story visit http://amandalindhout.com/

-Caroline Barry.

The Lancashire Nanas

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The Lancashire Nanas, a group of nans who fight the fracking company Quadrilla in Lancashire, are an inspiration to all young activists and do amazing work to save their communities (and us all) from fracking http://www.talkfracking.org/nanashire-tour/who-are-the-nanas/

The nanas inspire me personally because theyre a part of the population people don’t often think of when they think about radical protesters. They show us that our preconceived notions of “activists” can be way off.
They also do amazing stuff to protect their local communities from the horrors of fracking though outreach, education, and protest. They should inspire everyone who cares about the environment and each other.
-Non Frenguelli.

Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis was a queer activist who would become known as the oldest surviving open lesbian. At around the age of 16 she came out and met her partner of more than 30 years, Ceciline “Babe” Franklin, in the 1920s. Ruth and Ceciline would host members of the underground African American LGBT+ community for parties, but also for refuge. The creation of a safe and supportive space for queer African Americans was vital for the community.

The Ruth Ellis Centre, founded in 1999, is one of only four organisations in the US which seeks to provide help and support for at-risk, runaway and homeless LGBT+ youth.

Ruth Ellis inspires me because she had the strength to prioritise herself and others like her in a world that didn’t prioritise them. Her care and compassion for her community as well as her fearlessness and dedication to her beliefs inspire me to be more conscientious and to fight for what I believe in as well as my own rights.
-Grace Almond.

Juno Dawson

Juno Dawson inspires me because she’s not only a trans woman but she’s also a really successful author, she’s living a happy successful life, and she’s doing all of this in the public eye.
Cis people may struggle to see how this is significant, but speaking from experience having a role model like Juno can literally change a young trans girl’s life! Through the mainstream media we are bombarded with transphobic bile and we are taught to hate ourselves and be ashamed of ourselves every day.
You need only look at the latest trans youth suicide statistics from stonewall to see how devastatingly effective that onslaught has been. Juno, and women like her, are a beacon of hope amongst all that carnage. The difference they make can mean life or death for young trans girls.
-Charlotte Molloy

My best friend

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right” Rosa Parks once said. This is so true and fully applies when it comes to Dejana. She is the strongest, most courageous and most inspiring person I know.

She makes me think and talk more about feminism, which was not really something I could talk about for hours before. Not because I was not interested or did not care about it, but it was just not that important to me.

But hearing her talk about it with such strong emotions and an indescribable passion changed my whole mindset. I realized that it is indeed important to stand up for myself, and to stand up for other women.

She makes me feel proud of being the person I am; she does not judge me by what I do wrong, she just tells me how to do it right instead. On top of everything she reminds me to breathe and take a step back before stressing out. Thank you for lighting up my life, Dejana! I love you to bits.

-Simge Ko.

Greta Gerwig

Her directing debut got 5 Oscar nominations, and though she didn’t win any it’s a huge achievement and very inspiring considering how weighted towards men the film industry is.

-Tanyel Mustafa

My mother

“I hate to be cliche but my mum inspires me because she rebuilt her entire life after a divorce and is just so independent and tough even when things seem impossibly hard.”
-Natasha Barrett
“This incredible woman has never let any obstacles (of which there have been many) stand in her way, and that inspires me everyday. She listens, she empathises, she is kind, and she is supportive. I feel very lucky to call her my mother.
She was my first example of the uncompromising power of women, and will always be a favourite feminist icon of mine to celebrate on International Women’s Day.”
-Jemma Davoudian

Zaha Hadid

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Zaha Hadid is a renowned architect, famous for designing the “vagina stadium” for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (seriously, she was inspired by a vagina – Google it).
In an industry that is highly male dominated (with a big pay gap issue), Zaha is a huge inspiration to me as an outspoken female architect.
-Gina Davis
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