5 inspirational women you might not know about
International Women’s Day is 8th March and is one of our favourite days in the calendar. International Women’s Day addresses women’s issues and also applauds inspiring women who, in their own way, make the world a better place. There are millions of women who make their mark in some way – all the way from your mum to Vivienne Westwood. To mark the day, we have compiled a list of five truly amazing women who we think are a great cause for celebration. We have chosen women who aren’t in the spotlight day-to-day but who have seen something they want to happen and they work hard to make it so.
Malala Yousafzai is just 24. She is Pakistani activist for female education and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. As a young teenager, Malala spoke out publicly against the prohibition on the education of girls that was imposed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. The result of her outspokenness was that she was shot in the head. Surviving the assassination attempt, she was transferred to a hospital in Birmingham. She recovered there and continued her activism. In July 2015, with support from the Malala Fund which she founded, she opened a girls’ school in Lebanon for refugees from the Syrian Civil War. In 2020 she graduated from the University of Oxford —while using her elevated public profile to bring attention to human rights issues around the world.
We almost feel that writing only a couple of paragraphs on Malala Yousafzai is doing her a massive disservice. What she has achieved in one short lifetime is quite astounding. Google her.
You may have heard of Jack Monroe as a person wrongly accused by journalist, Katie Hopkins, of being supportive of vandalism of a war memorial. However, before Jack (who prefers the pronoun they/them) came into the public eye for getting on the wrong wide of Katie Hopkins, they had, for a long time, been campaigning on poverty and hunger issues. As a single parent, Monroe ran a blog, named ‘A Girl Called Jack’ which shared cheap recipes and aimed to provide family meals for less than £10 per week. In 2015, the blog was renamed ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’.
Referred to by The Guardian as “make do and mend heroine”, Jack has stated that they are deeply affected by their experience of poverty which allows them to help other people. In 2022 Asda committed to making its cheapest food ranges more widely available, after Jack raised concerns that low-income shoppers were facing price increases because they could no longer get hold of them.
Andrea Jessop is the CEO of Moo Free, the hugely successful dairy-free chocolate-maker. Andrea detected an allergy to dairy in her baby son, who suffered from eczema and other complaints. She cut dairy from his diet but as he grew, he couldn’t have the same treats as other children – heart-breaking for a child at Christmas and Easter. So, Andrea started a quest to make delicious dairy-free chocolate.
Fast forward to 2022 and Andrea is at the helm of Moo Free, a business that believes ‘there’s no such thing as normal’. The company operates with strong ethics at its core and champions neurodiversity in its workforce. Approximately 20% of the company's workforce has autism and Moo Free has worked with charities that provide work for people with autism.
Andrea is on a constant mission to find the most ecologically sound packaging that there is. Concern for our planet sits at the heart of the company’s ethical foundations. She holds tight to the belief that chocolate should be for everyone
Jessica Huie, MBE
Jessica founded the multicultural greeting-card company, Color Blind Cards when she couldn’t find greeting cards that reflected her own family and the diverse population of the UK. It was the first company to supply mainstream greeting-card retailers in the UK with cards that celebrated racial and ethnic diversity. After considerable success, the business expanded to South Africa and the US. Jessica’s story takes her from being a teenage mother, expelled from school and staying in a hostel to founding two award-winning businesses and earning an MBE.
Color Blind Cards no longer exists and Jessica manages her own highly successful PR firm, as well as The Purpose Academy. The Academy aims to help small business owners ‘find your truth and embrace your calling’.
Jessica is an excellent example of someone who saw a change that needed to be made and made it herself.
We can’t all start a multi-million-pound company or take on the Taliban – but sometimes great inspiration can be found in people facing adversity head-on. Elin Williams is the founder of award-winning disability and lifestyle blog, My Blurred World. Born in Wales, Elin is a visually impaired social media manager and is named as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK.
Elin began her blog with a focus on accessible fashion and beauty but she’s expanded her hub. The blog now spans a range of disability and accessibility issues, from confidence to concert experiences.
She describes herself as “extremely passionate about highlighting the positives and seeking light in the darkest moments” and states on her blog that she hopes that her writing can help others in a similar situation.
She has written columns for various publications and has been featured on BBC and ITV Wales News, Huffington Post, Allure Magazine and RNIB Connect Radio.
All while working a day job as a social media manager.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Don’t forget – November 19th is International Men’s Day. Just like International Women’s Day, it will be a day of highlighting men’s issues and celebrating all the phenomenal men who make the world a better place.