International Women’s Day 2018: The Women That Inspire Us

International Woman’s Day is upon us once again, and what a year for women it’s been. From the #MeToo movement to focusing on gender diversity in the workplace, women everywhere are speaking out and speaking loud about the issues that matter most to them. To celebrate this momentous day, we asked the Connected Space employees about the women who inspire them to be the best versions of themselves possible.

ABBAS: KATHERINE JOHNSON

“She’s an African-American mathematician who contributed to the United States’ aeronautics and space programs in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. One of the flights she worked on was the 1969 Apollo mission to moon, and her calculations were vital to the success of the mission. The 2016 film ‘Hidden Figures’ included her life’s achievements and her story, and she’s now immortalised in doll form for future generations of children to be inspired by what she did. She overcame such difficult obstacles, and is ultra-modest, super smart, and she benefited mankind for the future. Truly inspirational.”

JOE: MARIE CURIE

She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, whilst also insisting the money she got went to the scientific institutions she was affiliated with, rather than herself. I love this quote she said: be less curious about people, and more curious about ideas”

AADAM: MY MOTHER, PATSY ISHMAEL

“She’s an assessment and interventions officer at London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, whilst also working as a youth councillor. She’s always looking for the good in people, and is intelligent, caring, helpful, hardworking, and always putting everyone else before herself”

ALISON: PHILIPPA FAWCETT

“How can I choose just one woman? There are so many inspirational women who have touched my life in some way. I am constantly inspired by the stories I hear about the struggles the women who came before me had to go through in order for me to have the life I do are always an inspiration. Any woman who was told they couldn’t do something purely because of their gender, authors like George Eliot who had to use a male pen name in order to be published, female scientists who weren’t allowed to take credit for their work because they were women, athletes like Katherine Switzer who had to literally push down barriers to compete. But the woman I chose is Philippa Fawcett, the first woman to obtain top score in the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos exams which received worldwide coverage. At the time women were thought to not possess the intelligence needed to compete with men, and had only been admitted to university a decade before. The winner of the exam is given the title of Senior Wrangler but as only men were ranked Phillippa wasn’t given this distinguished honour, instead she was announced as ‘above the senior wrangler’”

ROB: MY MUSIC TEACHER, PAULINE

“She’s someone I always aspire to be like because of her attitude to life, her desire to see the positive in anyone, and her dedication to all her adopted children.”

BETHANY: JOAN OF ARC AND CAITLIN MORAN

“I found it impossible to choose just one woman, so I went with two women from two entirely different eras in time. Joan of Arc is one of my biggest inspirations because she was a woman who defied the societal norms of the time and was burned at the stake for daring to be herself, and never backing down. My second woman is Caitlin Moran, an incredible writer who worked her way up from almost nothing, and a fierce strident feminist who inspires me to speak up and always write about what I believe in.”

JUSTIN: THE WOMEN ON A HUNGER STRIKE IN A DETENTION CENTRE IN BEDFORD, HARRIET TUBMAN, AND YAA AANTEWAA

“I’m inspired by Opelo Kgari because she’s an ordinary person who is resisting extraordinary circumstances. She’s lived in England since she was 13, was educated and works here. Unfortunately, due to the immigration system in Britain, she’s been effectively imprisoned without committing any crime, and is on hunger strike for all the women who have been unfairly treated by the system. Harriet Tubman is an inspiration of mine because she was born in a world where she was disregarded as both a slave and a woman, but despite this imagined and dedicated her life to creating a different world where no-one else would suffer the indignity and inhumanity that she endured throughout her youth. Finally, Yaa Asantewaa is an inspiration of mine because while some Ashanti chiefs were afraid of the might of the British and wanted to surrender, she spoke and led the fight in place of the men. In doing this, she overturned a stereotype and convention that meant the Ashanti women could not fight on the battlefield, and proved that women could be just as brave and as strong as the men, if not more so.”