International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global event celebrating the social economic, cultural and political achievements of women. IWD falls on March 8 each year with a new agenda and an evolved inspiration. This year, #BalanceforBetter is the theme, which means that it’s our job to spread the word to help promote gender equality worldwide. As part of this activity, our very own Muyambo Kasweshi shares five women who continue to inspire her.
Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)
Frida Kahlo is considered to be one of Mexico’s greatest artists. More than 60 years after death, she is still remembered as a remarkable woman who persevered despite living through immense physical pain for most of her life. Kahlo is an enduring inspiration for women of colour, the disabled community, the creative community, and humankind as a whole.
Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks made a choice that not only changed her life, it changed the course of an entire nation. By refusing she give up her seat, she started a ripple effect which has impacted the lives of generations. Like Parks, we all reach points in our lives where we have to make a choice – when we decide to move or not to move. The second that decision is made, we start a journey we might not have planned but can have ongoing consequences, for better or worse.
Aretha Franklin (1942 – 2018)
Aretha Franklin’s cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” became a symbol for equality and social justice. Franklin said: “Women absolutely deserve respect…I think women and children and older people are the three least respected groups in our society.” Alongside this, Franklin’s aesthetic choices embraced her culture and beauty as a black woman.
JK Rowling (1965 – Present)
Despite countless rejections when starting out, author JK Rowling brought the world one of the most-loved and famous literary characters ever, Harry Potter. Since the Harry Potter publications were published, the books have been turned into an unbelievable film series which has launched the careers of many actors and actress including Emma Watson who has gone on to be a spokesperson for equality herself.
Malala Yousafzai (1997 – Present)
Malala became one of the world’s most famous school girls. As a young girl of 11, she wrote an anonymous diary about what life was like under the rule of the Taliban in North-West Pakistan. In her diary, she talked about how she wanted to stay in education and how girls should be able to go to school. At 14, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Now aged 20, she has gone on to win more awards, campaign for girls’ rights all over the world and inspire many generations.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2019, we should all look to the women who inspire us whether they are public figures, friends or professionals we admire from afar. Particularly as we celebrate 100 years of women in law, we must recognise the success woman across the world have had thus far, and continue to champion and lift up the women in our lives, as well as those who may need our support further afield.