International Women’s Day took place on 8 March and it’s a perfect opportunity to take some time to educate ourselves on some of the inspiring women in society today and in history. Here in Suffolk, we have plenty of women who have achieved amazing things. I want to share with you some of the women I find inspiring, both from Suffolk and around the world.
Michelle Obama is a name we are very used to hearing when we talk about inspiring women and there’s a reason for that. While Barack Obama was in office, she was able to campaign for higher education, international education for girls, and healthy families, just to name a few. She’s launched many campaigns and charities to improve the wellbeing and health of many people’s lives and was and still is an inspiration to all women across the world.
My favourite quote: “The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued”.
Fiona Ellis is local to Ipswich, but only came to the UK in 2005 after living in Zimbabwe. She founded Survivors in Transition (just down the road from the University) which is a charity that supports men and women who have experienced sexual abuse, violence and exploitation in childhood. She has also worked with the University of Suffolk on research projects and is committed to survivors rights and improving access to services.
Helen Pankhurst is the Chancellor of the University of Suffolk and the great grand-daughter of Emeline Pankhurst. She continues in her great-grandmother’s legacy of campaigning for women’s rights and recently wrote a book “Deeds not Words: the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now”. I was so lucky to get myself a signed copy when she was visiting the University for her installation and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Jane Basham is a social justice campaigner who has been campaigning since her teens for a fairer, more equal society. She has used her position as a candidate for parliament to challenge the patriarchy and encourage women to do meaningful case work. She has been involved with a variety of organisations including Crisis at Christmas and Stopwatch.
My favourite quote: “The one thing I have learnt is to be courageous and always speak truth to power, however uncomfortable that may be”.