Today, Wednesday 8 March marks International Women’s Day – celebrating ‘the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women’ around the world. In every corner of the World, equality differs on many levels and today marks a day where we should all come together in recognition of that.

Inspirational Women for International Women's Day

This year the driver is #BeBoldForChange and we ask every Jane around the world to help us push for a little more exposure. Please do support the day through your favourite social network or just mention it in your place of work! To mark the day, we wanted to pick a handful of women who bring inspiration to our lives, and whilst I could have picked 100 women that we think think are inspirational – from mams to friends, to beautician, doctor, cousins, even my gym instructors and not forgetting the talented Janes 😉 … the list goes on.

As you probably don’t know these people I settled on a handful of inspirational women you might have heard of. And if not you probably should.

Lena Dunham

At 23, an age where I was still going to really terrible nightclubs and going to work smelling of jägerbombs – Dunham had written, directed and starred in her film Tiny Furniture. From that came the HBO series Girls she created, stars in and produces. Then a bestselling book in 2014, ‘Not that kind of girl‘. Dunham is a proud feminist and vocal on matters relating to women and what needs to change. Be that violence, rape culture, attitudes, access to education, street harassment or pro-choice.

One of my favourite reads is the very lengthy but gripping email newsletter she creates with her bestie/producer of Girls, Jenni Konner / Lenny Letter. Not only did it once feature my true love, Jennifer Lawrence, (who wrote wonderfully by the way), but has also introduced me to a plethora of inspirational women articulating so vividly on issues I didn’t even know were a thing (though I did have to skip the recent cannibalism article – the one time going vegan seemed appealing).

When Lena wrote about Kesha’s case and the implications around this in such a compelling, clear and engaging way I was almost clapping at my phone screen.

I’m so glad we’ve moved on from just talking about her dress sense and forward to seeing what else this inspirational woman has to offer.

Maya Angelou

When Angelou passed away a few years ago, I read some of her poetry and was struck by her compassion and clarity – as well as how relatable she was. What Maya achieved was momentous – publishing seven (what the chuff) autobiographies, various books, essays, poetry. She was an actor, writer, director, producer and played an active role in the Civil Rights movement. This woman’s CV was a book in itself. Angelou’s work was so powerful and influential, and continues to resonate with both women and men across the world.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

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Katherine Ryan

I feel so much rage, like full on Simba-when-he-found-out-Scar-killed-Mufasa RAGE (spoiler alert), when people say “women just aren’t as funny as men“. Guess I must be on my period. FML.

Aside from the list too big to mention of comediennes that are truly magnificent and disprove this utter bull****, this Canadian chick is owning the comedy circuit right now. From winning the Nivea Funny Women Award in 2008 she’s since appeared in every comedy panel show going from Live at the Apollo, to Mock the Week to 8 out of 10 cats. And she nails it.

Ryan’s new show on Netflix, ‘Katherine Ryan: In Trouble’, is frigging hilarious. Definitely one of the best stand ups I’ve seen in a while. (Also, she LIKED my tweet about my fan girl gushing on it #twittergoals). She doesn’t talk about her love for chocolate, or PMS, or (blugh) hating men. Gasp, whatever will she talk about. She raises valid points on feminism in a hilarious and curious way, isn’t afraid to be controversial (bringing up sexual harassment allegations against Bill Cosby) and even mocks our darling T Swifty with her oh-so-cringe Nicki Minaj beef. Her material also covers her daughter, her bridesmaid duties and a very dead rabbit (trust me it’s bloody funny).

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Michelle Obama

An obvious choice, but deservedly so. Princeton and Harvard graduate, lawyer, campaigner and writer, Michelle Obama is a role model to many of us.

After working in a law firm in the 80s (where she met Barack Obama FYI) she went on to high profile roles in the public sector and not-for-profits – smashing fundraising records in the process. In 1996 she served as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago developing the school’s first community-service programme, and in 2002 she began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as an executive director then as Vice President.

As first lady from 2009 to 2017 she’s focused on social issues such as poverty, healthy living and education. Obama was an integral part of both Barack Obama’s campaign trail and has delivered many a noteworthy, passionate and hairs-on-your-neck-chilling speech. She’s got a sense of authenticity and class about her that makes you think she’d be happy to give you a pep talk over a glass of prosecco.

“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”

A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

There we have it, some of our most inspiration women, but what we really want to know is ‘Who is Yours?’ = tweet us at @tweetjanes and don’t forget to use the hashtag #BeBoldForChange.


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