6th March 2020
IWD Spotlight: Women in ... everything!
There are SO many, but here are just a few of our team’s favourite women, women leaders and feminist achievements. Over to you, team!
Women in photography: Vivian Maier
There are so many women to celebrate – not least of all my wife, who just prefers to quietly work away making a difference and helping pave the way for other women in the music biz.
Anyway. My pick is Vivian Maier. She was a street photographer who worked as a nanny but pursued the life of an artist in total anonymity, without critical feedback and totally self-taught. Her work was discovered after her death and she has since been recognised as one of the greatest photographers to have ever lived. To me, she is the epitome of the women in history, and still today, who put their own hopes and dreams to the side in order to raise children and devote their lives to what we once thought of as ‘women’s work’. I would consider her to be a pure artist in the same category as Van Gogh.
Women in politics: Angela Merkel
Everyone knows Angi who is the German politician serving as the chancellor of Germany since 2005 and is the first woman ever in this position. I would even say she is the most powerful woman in the whole world. She hardly smiles in any picture but nevertheless she knows how to win our hearts.
Women in healthcare: Prince Charles Hospital Early Learning Centre
All of the educators, teachers and teacher’s assistants at Prince Charles Hospital Early Learning Centre in Chermside. My daughter Rose went there from 1 to 5 and a half and loved every minute of her day care. Without the kindness and skills of: Miss Peta, Miss Maddie, Miss Saw, Miss Jo, Miss Kirundeep, Miss Juno, Miss Rachel, Miss Sharon, Miss Megan, Miss Rene and above all else Miss Michelle she would not be the confident little thing she is today. My wife and I are forever in their debt.
Women in music: Viv Albertine
I’m a big admirer of Viv Albertine, an Australian-born woman who made a name for herself in London in the 70s music scene. Except she was far cooler and more rebellious than the blokes in the Sex Pistols and The Clash, who her band The Slits used to support. If you’ve ever worn Doc Martens with a skirt / dress… thank Viv Albertine. She is recognised as the first woman to do it. In fact, she started a revolution of women wearing Doc Martens. They couldn’t understand why they were selling so many small men’s sizes. She’ll still amazing today writing two best-sellers, still playing music. A spirited, independent woman.
Women in activism: Waris Dirie
Waris is a Somali model, author, actress and human rights activist in the fight against female genital mutilation. From 1997 to 2003, she served as a UN special ambassador against female genital cutting. In 2002 she founded her own organisation in Vienna, the Desert Flower Foundation. I was never a bookworm but this changed with her first book, Desert Flower, which was the first book I ever read from the beginning to the end. And I was the first in the bookshop when her second book, Desert Dawn, came out.
– Rike (I couldn’t pick just one!)
Women in business: Agi Gajic and Rose Kentish
There’s soooo many. But lately I’m inspired by these two – the founders of The Sparkke Change Beverage Company. Head brewer Agi Gajic and Co-founder and director, Rose Kentish created this female-run social enterprise where all cans feature social change messaging with a portion of profits going to each cause. I’ll drink to that.
Women in activism: Malala Yousafzai
She is a human rights activist, in particular for female education and such an inspiration. As a young girl she defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls should be allowed to receive an education. At the age of 15 she was shot by a Taliban gunman, she lived to tell her story and continue her fight for female education rights. She also received the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 making her the youngest recipient. I would highly recommend watching her documentary He named me Malala.
Women in literature: Persephone Books
The first person I think about celebrating on IWD is my brilliant Mum. And something she’s always encouraged is a love of books. Persephone Books is her favourite publisher and bookseller. Persephone’s mission, since being founded by Nicola Beauman above a Clerkenwell pub in 1998, has been championing the female authors history has forgotten, finding hidden gems written by previously neglected women writers, and restoring them to their rightful place in the literary canon. You can check out their booklist here, it’s well worth a read.