Women, they’re incredible, aren’t they? We live in an age where we strive for equality on every level, and work hard to make sure that any glass ceilings are shattered. Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration worldwide which has been ongoing for more than 100 years making the most of the powerful souls which make up half of the worlds population.
It’s easy to look and find incredible role models – there are some obvious choices in the worlds of sport, politics, celebrity, something for everyone. Women who are looked up to for using their talents and savvy to make a difference, to change the world around us. They’re not always the most obvious ones either – some are bold and out there with showing the world their “I am woman, hear me roar” stance, while others are quietly working in the background, letting the work say it all for them.
On this International Women’s Day, here are the women I’m most looking up to at the moment – women I feel are incredible ambassadors for the “fairer sex” (clearly those who use that term to mean we’re weaker have never tried to wrestle a duvet off a sleeping woman..) – if you’ve not come across them before, then hopefully they’ll provide you with some inspiration on days where you feel it’s a mans world with no hope for your inner feminist!
Louise O Neill
One of Ireland’s most up and coming female writers, and a voice for women’s rights, Louise O Neill is author of Asking For It, one of the literary hits of last year which got the topic of consent and rape culture on the table, and Only Ever Yours, which was a provocative work on the topic of body image and the looks based culture which exists in society. A strong campaigner for feminist issues, Louise is very vocal on Social Media and in her her public talks (one of which is going to be taking place in Cork, tomorrow, Wednesday 9th March, with Mary Crilly of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre in their headquarters in 5 Camden Place, Cork from 4-6pm). I had the pleasure of a chat with her about Asking For It a few months back, you can read that here. Definitely one to watch – at the age of 30, this lady is only on the way up.
An author, actress and social media star, Giovanna Fletcher first came to my attention when she married Tom from McFly and they uploaded that incredible wedding speech video. Since then, as a couple they’ve uploaded fun videos which have shown their family life to the world in a way that can’t help but make you smile. This week however, her uploads were a tad more thought provoking – when she posted on the topic of post baby body, and the thoughts of others about how a new mother should look. She uploaded this Facebook post talking about her feelings about her bump and comments she has received, opening an important conversation which has hopefully changed some people’s views on the “need” to attain that perfect pre-baby body upon leaving the Maternity Ward.
Two years on, I’m still not there, and am faced with images online and in magazines of celebrities who have lost all the weight (and then some) and are looking incredible within weeks – case in point, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie which while being attention seeking, obviously, was also a serious “Holy crap, she had a kid three months ago, look at her figure” moment when I saw it. This isn’t a standard most women can live up to and can lead to serious drops in self esteem so it’s always good to have real women coming out and saying “This is my body, it’s done it’s job and delivered my baby, I am going to celebrate it”.
My first time coming across Tara Flynn’s work was around the time of the Marraige Equality Referendum, with her hilarious video “The Case for Mammy/Daddy Marraige” which very successfully parodied a No Campaign video. Since then, she has gone on to speak out publicly about her experience with having to leave the country to get an abortion as the Irish State would not legally allow her to have it performed here, and has become an advocate for the Repeal The 8th movement. Very funny and smart-thinking, she’s a fantastic example of the modern Irish woman and is definitely someone to keep an eye on over the next while – she’s a regular contributor to “The Women’s Podcast” which I’m a big fan of as well as being the author of three books which sum of the essence of life in modern Ireland.
No list of female role models would be quite complete without Taylor Swift, now would it? The country star turned spurned lover hit maker has had quite the change of reputation in recent times. She’s been moving away from her reputation as “the girl who writes songs about her ex boyfriends” to a symbol of girl power, of female empowerment and promoting the importance of female friendships and breaking those glass ceilings. Her recent speech at the Grammy’s gathered a lot of attention, calling out Kanye West on his claim to her fame – she tears that idea right down and makes it clear that it has been her hard work and the support of those around her that has made it this far.
She’s on top of the world right now, and is certainly an extremely savvy business woman at the head of what can only be described as an empire. She’s also managed to retain a reputation for being clean-living and a good role model for young women, unlike many stars who have gone ahead of her and wound up down the wrong road as a result of their fame. She’s taken on music industry giants like Apple and Spotify. She’s brought the word “squad” into the vocabulary of many, and all while becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world. I’m not seeing a point in the near future where she won’t be on a high.
These are just some of my female role models, women who are using their strengths to improve the world around them. I’d love to hear who it is that you look up to, what ladies inspire you and you think are good role models for others – let me know in the comments!
Happy International Women’s Day to you and all the ladies in your life!