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The women who inspire us on International Women’s Day 2019

Gender equality is always an important topic, but there is one day in the year where it’s talked about more than any other – and that’s today, the 8th March. International Women’s Day. Today is the day that necessary conversations are sparked, and some crazy statistics come to light.

Like the fact that according to McKinsey, gender equality could add up to $28 trillion to the world’s output by 2050.

Like the fact that estimates suggest that up to £250bn of additional value could gained in the UK economy if women were able to start and scale businesses at the same rate as men.

Like the fact that despite all this, out of all the CEOs at the head of Fortune 500 companies, just 24 are women.

To discuss all of this and more, here at Nelson Bostock, we hosted a panel event, looking at some of the salient issues around women’s equality. We heard from Laura Wheeler, the UK Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Google Cloud, Sophy Tobias, who worked in comms at Facebook and Instagram, Mark Gaukrodger, Head of Growth at Hopper HQ and Marie-Claude Gervais, Research Director at Versiti.

Following on from this #BalanceforBetter event, we asked some of the team to share their thoughts on the most inspirational women from across the world. Here’s what they had to say on who inspires them, and why.

Mille Craker-Horton, Account Executive

I think Rachel Atherton is pretty inspirational. Last year she took the sixth World Cup title of her career and her fifth Downhill Mountain Bike World Championship title. What a year – especially as it was achieved through sheer determination and hard work after 2017 was plagued by injury! We’re beginning to see more females in cycling and it’s fierce women like this that have helped lead the way.

Ian Ryan, Account Executive

Mary Robinson became the first female Irish president in 1990, then became UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presiding over the World Conference against Racism in 2001. She champions women’s rights worldwide and family planning rights for women in Ireland in particular. Amnesty International awarded her the Ambassador of Conscience award in 2004 for her human rights work… and she is great.

George Wisbey, Account Assistant

Jessica Ennis is an amazing athlete, a gold medalist, three time world champion and heptathlon record holder! In 2017, Jessica became the first British women to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Award. I don’t think I have to say much more, she has a great attitude and is an inspiration to all sports loving women!  

Ellie Hattersley, Account Executive

Jacinda Ardern – New Zealand’s prime minister – is such a great role model for women (and, well, everyone) everywhere. She champions progressive politics, is one of just two world leaders to have given birth while in office – and shows that you can still be a badass career woman with a family.

Emine Tarim, Account Assistant

Elif Shafak – she is an incredible author, public speaker and political-activist. One of her most famous books ‘The Bastard of Istanbul’ single handedly sparked my interest in Sociology at a very young age. Recently, she has become more involved in women’s rights activism and raising awareness of Middle Eastern policies. She talks a lot about ‘othering’ or ‘belonging’ and the struggle of migration creating a clash in identifying with a single culture or belief.

Alice Parker, Account Assistant

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her life advocating for women’s rights and gender equality. In 1993 she became the second ever woman to be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and was recently portrayed by Felicity Jones in the movie ‘On the Basis of Sex’.

Gaby Wheatley, Account Assistant

Jameela Jamil is an activist, actress and feminist calling out all issues today relating to race, gender, and ability. She has been named Stylist Magazine’s “woman of the year” and has launched two major campaigns. ‘Why Not People?’ was dedicated to putting on accessible entertainment events for disabled people, and ‘i-weigh’ is totally dedicated to body positivity and encouraging women to see themselves as more than what they weigh

Nich O’Connor, Senior Account Executive

Michaela Coel is a screenwriter, actor and poet who wrote and starred in Channel 4’s Chewing Gum and she’s used her platform to encourage and inspire the next generation of writers. She’s also a champion for education and is very vocal about her attitudes towards open mentorship. Not only is she a two time BAFTA winner, but Michaela is also a testament to female strength, by sharing her own experience of sexual assault and how she found writing therapeutic and healing, she’s encouraged women who have been assaulted to reach out and seek help.  

Brenda Nabanja, Account Assistant

Oprah Winfrey would be mine as she is a woman of many media talents – she’s a talk show host, TV producer and actress. She is a self-made multi-billionaire, best known for her show the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’, which was the highest rated television program of its kind. Plus, she’s currently 65 yet actually still does acting!