I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and always have been – William Golding
As many of you may know, March 8th is International Women’s Day. Today is the day where we celebrate the cultural, social, economic and political achievements of women all over the world. In this post, I will be acknowledging ten women who I believe have used their influence (and in some cases, power) to inspire others in a positive way:
In addition to being the first Black First Lady of the United States, nobody can deny that Michelle Obama isn’t a powerhouse in her own right. When her husband Barack became President of the U.S.A in 2009, Michelle embarked on a endless journey to lend her support to numerous causes such as girls’ education (Global Girls Alliance) and healthy eating. The Let’s Move campaign was dedicated to solving America’s ongoing problem of obesity within a generation. Even though her time in the White House came to an end in 2017, everything she turns her attention to attracts attention, especially among millennial women. Her memoir ‘On Becoming’ was released in November 2018 and has gone on to become a bestseller. Side note: I am currently reading the book and I must say that it’s a heartwarming tale. I’m almost halfway through and the book is brimming with inspiration and valuable lessons concerning life, love and loss.
Florence ‘Flo-Jo’ Joyner
Now, what I am not going to do is give you a history lesson, because I know some of you are probably saying to yourselves ‘who?’. If you are, then you need to Google the incomparable Florence Griffith Joyner, who was known as ‘Flo-Jo’. Flo-Jo is an inspiration to me and it’s all because of her achievements at the 1988 Olympics. Over 30 years later, she is still considered as the fastest women of all time. She set world records for the 100m and 200m, making her one of the G.O.A.T as far as female athletes are concerned. Flo-Jo set the Olympics on fire with her lightning-like speed and…she SLAYED while she did it. The nails, the hair, the make-up. She just proved that you don’t have to tone down your appearance in order to be noticed. Sadly, Flo-Jo died in 1998 and after her victory in Seoul, she spent the next few years of her life refuting drug use claims. She took and passed 11 drug tests. It is indeed a shame that her impact in the world of athletics was almost tarnished. There will never be another Flo-Jo.
Mae Jemison is the first African-American female astronaut. She was the first black woman in space in 1992. Prior to this, she was the first African-American woman to be admitted into the NASA astronaut training program. Mae is an inspiration because she is a ‘woman of firsts’. It takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams, especially when you aren’t swamped with images and stories of people who look like you who are doing similar things. There were no limits on what she believed she could achieve and we could all learn a thing or two from this inspirational woman.
“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” – Mae Jemison
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
Before she became a member of the Royal Family, Meghan was an actress on the show Suits. She also had a lifestyle blog called ‘The Tig’. Something that you may not know about Meghan is that she used her celebrity status for advocacy and charity work. She has worked as a Global Ambassador for World Vision and as a advocate for United Nations. Even now, as a member of the Royal Family, she has lent her support to many causes such as a cookbook for those who were affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. Although she now has to keep her political opinions to herself, Meghan isn’t afraid to speak out about issues such as girls education and feminism. She’s bold, stylish, influential and isn’t afraid to let the world in on her views. May her star continue to shine.
Necole Kane (XONecole)
Necole Kane is an inspiration to me in more ways than one. When I launched IKS in December 2017, I was looking for entrepreneurs who inspired me as well as websites that I admired. Every time I visit XO Necole, I feel a surge of liberation. It’s a strange feeling but it’s ignited by the fact that one platform hosts such relatable and life changing content and that is groundbreaking. One valuable life lesson we can all learn from Necole is that you can always reinvent yourself and come back much stronger than before. Initially, Kane was behind the website Necole Bitchie, which was a gossip blog, but she decided that she wanted to do something different and soon after XO Necole was born. The website is such a success that it has been acquired by Will Packer Entertainment. I’m grateful to women like Necole who made it acceptable to embrace storytelling in all it’s magnificent glory.
Louise Broni-Mensah (Shoobs)
Again, this may another name you don’t recognise but without Louise Broni-Mensah, you probably wouldn’t have been able to go to your favourite club at the weekend. She is the CEO of Shoobs. Shoobs is the UK’s number one event booking and discovery platform for Urban events in the U.K. What is admirable about Louise’s story is that she found a gap in the market and filled it. The difficulty of booking tickets for events online is what inspired Mensah to launch Shoobs. Never close your mind to the fact that there may be a business idea out there with your name on it.
Phillis Wheatley was the first published black female poet. As someone who had her poetry published in two books at the age of 15, reading Wheatley’s story in Stylist Magazine filled my heart with so much joy. Born in West Africa and sold into slavery at the tender age of 7 or 8, she was taught by her family to read and write. Once they saw she had a talent, her love for poetry was encouraged. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was released in 1773 and catapulted Phillis to stardom in English and American colonies. Although luck played a part in the recognition she received, being able to write was something that most slaves would not even have dreamed of. Something we can all learn from Phillis’s story is that no matter who you are, we all have been blessed with invaluable gifts that we can share with the world.
Natalie Lue (Baggage Reclaim)
Natalie is behind Baggage Reclaim, a blog where she shares insights and observations from her own personal journey with relationships. Her expertise regarding behavioural patterns, emotions, relationships and healing from toxic relationships is the reason why the blog is read in more than 130 countries. Baggage Reclaim was recommended to me by a colleague of mine circa 2012. I was just about to finish uni and I had come out of yet another hopeless relationship and couldn’t understand why I was attracting men who weren’t right for me. Reading Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl gave me the epiphany I never knew I needed. Natalie advocates for early life experiences and their influence on the decisions we make in adulthood. Listening to her podcast or reading any of her books will be sure to send you into a deep state of reflection.
All of these women are an inspiration to me because of who they are and what they stand for. I am also so blessed to be surrounded by women in my own life who are amazing individuals.
Who are the women that inspire you and why?
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