There’s no excuse needed to celebrate inspiring women but, seen as though Friday is International Women’s Day, we’ve got one.
1. Lea Coligado
Lea is a software engineer from Texas. That’s a fact I love in itself. But in her spare time, she works on her blog, Women of Silicon Valley, which she launched to celebrate the ladies in tech. Women celebrating women is always something I can get behind!
The blog has a similar format to Humans of New York, as it is generally a picture with an anecdote. Lea has featured all sorts of badass women, including employees of Google and Linkedin.
2. Maria Scorodinschi
In the earliest years of her life, Maria witnessed domestic violence within her family. She grew up believing she wouldn’t accept such behaviour, if she ever found herself in the same situation. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened. For eight years, Maria suffered at the hands of her husband. She eventually decided to leave for the safety of her children.
It takes a lot of strength to walk away from that. While that alone is admirable, how she has used her experiences is commendable. Maria has become a “Positive Champion” and helps others in Moldova to break free from domestic abuse. She uses her story to show other victims that it is possible to remove yourself from that awful situation.
3. Hannah Gadsby
The Australian comedian is openly lesbian and does a lot of work supporting charities. She has also been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Neither her sexuality or her diagnosis get in her way, and that’s how it should be.
It was while I was watching her stand up, Nanette, on Netflix that she came out with one of my all time favourite quotes:
“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”
Beyond that, I won’t say much about the routine because you need to watch it to appreciate it. I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that I hadn’t seen anything like it. It shocked, moved and entertained me in so many ways. There was a palpable sense of strength and resilience from Hannah and it was fantastic.
4. Peggy Whitson
Peggy Whitson is a former astronaut. Prior to her retirement in June 2018, she was doing all sorts of awesome stuff. During her career with NASA, she spent a total of 665 days in space, which is more time than any other American astronaut – male or female!
As if that wasn’t cool enough, at the age of 57, she was the oldest female astronaut in space. I hope I’m that awesome at 57. Maybe not because I’ve been to space but something equally brag-worthy.
5. Emily Coxhead
I discovered Emily after my mum bought me one of her calendars for Christmas. Having followed her on Instagram and done a little bit of research since then, she’s become someone I really admire. We both have similar ambitions with what we do, in that we both just want to spread a bit more happiness. And let me say, Emily is nailing it.
In 2015, she launched The Happy Newspaper which is full of only the good stuff that’s happening in the world. Goodness knows, we need it. She now has a delightfully colourful range of greeting cards and stationery which can be found in stores such as John Lewis. If you want more feel-good vibes in your feed, check her out on Instagram.
6. Jameela Jamil
While you may know her from presenting T4 or have seen her in The Good Place on Netflix, it’s her activism off-screen which has caught my attention. She regularly uses her social media platforms to protest against airbrushing, steer people away from diet pills and encourage others to celebrate qualities beyond their appearance.
In March 2018, she launched the Instagram account, I Weigh, which accepts non-edited selfie submissions from followers. Rather than focusing on physical features, they are instructed to celebrate things they are grateful for or proud of. It’s a wonderful initiative and a clear demonstration of a celebrity using their influence for better.
7. Nadia Murad
In September 2014, Nadia was captured by ISIS. She was held as a slave for three months, during which time she was beaten and also raped. She managed to escape when one of the captors left a door unlocked.
Following her escape, she shared her story and worked tirelessly to help others like her. Though she has admitted having difficulty opening up about her story, she recognises its importance.
Last year, in 2018, she was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual abuse as a weapon.
8. Hayley Williams
Hayley Williams is the lead singer of Paramore. While her amazing songwriting, powerful voice and enviable style are all worth mentioning, there are a few others reasons why she’s on this list.
Firstly, she has been very open about her mental health struggles. She has freely discussed attending therapy and the benefits that has had for her, and there have been numerous occasions on Twitter when she has urged her followers to seek help if they need it.
As well as that, she now has her own hair dye company, Good Dye Young. The hair dyes are vegan, cruelty-free and available in some truly stunning colours. So, now, not only does she rock the stage, but she’s nailing business, too.
Finally, I think she’s a great role model for young girls. She doesn’t fit into a box – she’s boyish and girly, strong and sweet, pretty and powerful. For me, she highlights how girls can be whatever they want and there’s no need to get caught up in gender stereotypes. Wear what you want. Be what you want.
9. Ellen DeGeneres
I imagine you are already well aware of Ellen DeGeneres. It just didn’t feel right not to have her on this list.
When Ellen came out as a lesbian, it could have ruined her career. It was uncommon for celebrities to be so open about it at the time. Luckily (for her and the rest of us), it didn’t hold her back. She’s proceeded to do lots of inspiring things such as raise millions for charity and touch lives all over the world.
I think what I admire most about Ellen is her compassion, and how it never fails to shine through. She cares, and you can see that in her eyes. She wears her heart on her sleeve and seems like such a special lady. I wholeheartedly believe the world needs more people like her.
If you want to read about more inspiring women, take a look at the Women Empowerment tag I participated in!