Anne Marie Baker and Minna Jahonen displaying the each for equal sign International Womens Day 2020)

Inspiring women to mark International Women’s Day

In recognition of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2020, members of staff have been sharing who their most inspirational woman is and what makes them so special:

Jacinta Ardern (PM of New Zealand) – ‘Compassionate leadership in a male dominated world. The youngest female head of government, and only the second elected head of government to have a baby and take maternity leave while in office.’ (Laura Pheils, L&OD Advisor)

Dame Julie Andrews – ‘Her incredible talent and how she coped with having to use this to support her family as a young child; not letting her childhood put her off her dreams. I admire her grace, charity work, her love of family, her strength after losing her voice and as the only person I’ve ever seen to get a standing ovation just walking into a room. ‘ (Helen Oliver, L&OD Coordinator)

Barbara Castle – ‘for introducing the Equal Pay Act.’  (Maddy Withers, Reward Assistant)

Aphra Behn – ‘A playwright, poet and spy was a remarkable and talented woman who made her voice heard and took risks for the things she believed in. Virginia Woolf wrote of her: “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn… for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.”‘ (Alison Ross Green, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development)

‘Mary Lacy’ – ‘She was determined to succeed and did so in spades. Born and bred in Ash, Kent she ran away to sea and also became an accomplished shipwright: she was arguably the first women ever to train as shipwright (albeit disguised as a man) and was also the first woman (this time not in disguise) to gain a pension from the Admiralty. She published her fascinating, candid memoirs – The Female Shipwright – in 1773.’  (Simon Kirchin, Director of the Division of Arts, Culture and Design)

Isabel Myers Briggs – ‘No-one has to be good at everything, By developing individual strengths, guarding against known weaknesses and appreciating the strengths of others, life will be more amusing, more interesting and more of a daily adventure than it could possibly be if everyone were alike.’ (Anne-Marie Baker,  Project Manager Athena SWAN)

Mother Teresa – ‘Despite all her encounters with adversity and distress, she maintained an iconic symbol of hope, peace and compassion.’ (Jena Dady, L&OD Advisor)

Emmy Noether – ‘As a woman in a patriarchal scientific community and a Jew in a brutally anti-Semitic society, she was unquestionably an outsider. Yet she discovered mathematics of great power and reach: her theorems on symmetries underpin our understanding of physics, and her exceptionally clear teaching has formed the heart of algebra for the last century.’ (Peter Hydon, Professor of Mathematics and Director of Division)

The abolitionist Sojourner Truth – ‘Born into slavery and at one point sold with a flock of sheep. She fought for the right to have all that comes with the freedom of personhood and equality.’ (Christina Hughes,  Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience)