In very tumultuous times, every single one of us needs to take a moment to think about what International Women’s Day means to us – not only for the fact that without women, none of us would be here but because women’s rights are fought for and then eroded on almost a daily basis – sometimes without us even being aware of it until it’s too late.
I was raised by a strong parents, but particularly a strong woman. A working class Baby Boomer who started her career as a secondary school teacher and ended it as a senior policy adviser to the Home Office on Youth Justice Policy. She spent her life succeeding in male-dominated arenas overcoming sexism, misogyny and arduous challenges.
She has overcome breast cancer, illness and enough dramas to fill several lifetimes. Through all this, she has passed on to me patience, kindness, liberality and the ability never to take something or someone at face value – always seeking to try and understand and empathise but not allowing myself to be exploited.
Whilst there is an ongoing fight for LGBT rights and rights for people of colour, there is still an undeniable fight for women; for women to be seen, treated and paid as equals. I’ve been taught that to believe this isn’t through shouting, but through doing, through having a conviction in who you are and what you do. This should apply to every person of either gender no matter your fight or your struggle.
My mother has inspired me, not just because she’s my mum but because I aspire to achieve what she has achieved and to understand the world the way she understands it; pushing yourself as hard as you’re able to be pushed. For this, I will be forever grateful and forever in awe.
Which woman or women inspire you this International Women’s Day?