International Women's Day 2020!

We don't really need an excuse to celebrate all the amazing women in our lives, but International Women's Day gives us the perfect opportunity to shout about how amazing we are - and also explore some of the challenges women face, especially in business.

We reached out to women from all over and invited them to take part in a flash interview: Who are they inspired by? What challenges do they face? How do they celebrate being a woman? 

The theme for International Women's Day 2020 is Each For Equal - The idea that we are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen and help to create a gender equal world. 

We wanted to know For International Women's Day 2020 and beyond, how will you support #EachforEqual?

Jodie

I’m Jodie from Boutique Blooms. I am Floral Designer and Stylist specialising in creating florals for weddings and events in London and Surrey. My most recent project was dressing the space for The Feconomy and Made.com Supper Club with a bunch of other amazing female run businesses!

I am often inspired by my other self-employed female friends from a whole range of different fields; photographers, product designers, planners, bakers, marketeers to name just a few. Their incredible work ethic and determination to keep going no matter what. I’d say both my lovely mum and wonderful Nanna are also both great influences in my life both professionally and personally; my 90-year-old Nanna’s can-do approach to absolutely everything, she is ever resourceful and the most practical woman on the planet! My mum who takes being assertive to a whole new level! Her ability to always see the bigger picture, keep things in perspective and to always show kindness and empathy to others. These skills and morals are always on my mind, some I’m better at putting into practice than others but it absolutely influences my everyday life and my approach to how I run my business.

The overspill of work into your personal life and vice versa; the great balancing act is definitely an ongoing challenge I face, why it is unique to women I’m not entirely sure, perhaps it is the perceived social norms that we should wear so many different hats and wear each one well. 

I receive occasional comments regarding assumptions about my ability (or perceived lack of) for lifting and carrying heavy objects and sadly yes still comments about having never seen a female van driver. I think as women by nature we take an understanding approach and we’re very skilled at making others feel comfortable. I will show my support for #EachforEqual by taking a less amenable response when receiving these kinds of comments in order to make people think a little deeper and start to make a small change.

I celebrate being a woman by showing my support and admiration to other women. Be it by collaborating with other female owned businesses or by showing support and kindness to a friend -by shouting out about someone’s big win in their business or by raising a glass or sharing a special moment with a friend.

Anna

I'm Anna, Fashion Freelance, Self-Employed @annakeo_design - my business is all about empowerment and spreading the creative message to women everywhere. The most inspiring women in my life are my closest friends that I admire and I'm proud of. They inspire me to be better, do more and fight for what's right. Usually, they are my best advisors and inspiration as I always know to whom I can go in a specific crisis. They help me not to give up as it can get a lot in the fashion industry quite quickly.

A challenge I face is that everyone still assumes that men know best how to dress other women and create garments for them. The fact that 80% of the fashion industry is owned by middle-aged white men is not a great either. 

I will support Each for Equal by launch my new IGTV series "The Breakfast Club" about my friends inspiring stories and unusual career paths. I will be releasing the videos all the way through march as it is women history month. 

I celebrate by having a ME day when I'm on my own - taking myself for a nice brunch, to a gallery and enjoying a day of doing just what I want. Sometimes it can be doing absolutely nothing. 

Kerry

I’m Kerry Curl, I’m a freelance photographic artist working with photography, moving image and exploring installation. I mainly work across portraiture and fashion. I personally wear a lot of second-hand and vintage items, so my practice frequently draws on the influence of the past in today’s world to question the idea of nostalgia, sustainability and consumerism. I split my time between Norwich and London but will go wherever the work takes me. Insta: @kerrycurl

When I was working in call centre roles wondering if I would ever have a creative career, I used to read these ‘A-Z of art’ type books and that’s how I discovered Tracey Emin. I had no idea she was a controversial figure (this was pre-internet days). Her work just landed with me. When I started talking about her art to other people and they reacted dismissively I was bemused. My unapologetic conviction that this IS art was a good grounding for me though. Even if I didn’t realise it at the time. 

I wouldn’t say this is a “greatest issue” situation but I do feel it would be remiss of me not to mention, as we’re talking about International Women’s Day that photography is a very male dominated industry - don’t get me wrong I’ve met some amazing male photographers, but there have been some experiences where eye rolls have been my fashion accessory of the day. “That’s a big camera for a little girl…” by the way I was 40 when that was said to me! 

I feel as makers and creators, we have more power than ever to create the dialogue we want to make happen. Social media and blogging have made us all publishers. We have the space to create the work we want to make and see. If no-one is commissioning us to make it? Then we commission ourselves. 

                

It’s important to me as a photographer whose work mainly involves photographing people, that the work I create is reflective of the diversity around me. Through allowing my interest in people to be a feature within my work, there’s an openness which enables me to connect with a broad mix of sitters. I’m interested in people regardless of gender, age, sexuality etc. Simply creating a celebration of humans in general is what really appeals to me. However, this is a constant work in progress and people I’d like to work more with are women over 40.

How do I celebrate being a woman? I actually found this question the hardest to answer which is a sign that perhaps I should be celebrating it more? Maybe the best way to celebrate is by being kind to myself and accepting that that like my art practice, I’m a work in progress too. 

Nancy

I'm Nancy and I'm the Homebrew Witch. I'm a Tarot Reader and witchy gal based in Edinburgh. You can follow my instagram at @homebrewwitch for tarot tips, readings and other magical posts. 

There are so many incredible women in the world that have inspired me that it's really difficult to narrow it down. I think people that have inspired my business particularly are Bri Luna of the Hoodwitch, Chelsea Selby of Witch Baby Soap, and Pam Grossman of the Witch Wave Podcast. I always loved witches in stories and felt so attracted to magic but was really put off by a lot of the mainstream stuff and the cringey new age shops I came into contact with. These three women and their projects showed me that you can unapologetically be whoever the fuck you want to be and make some serious magic. 

Magic, in particular divination, has been used for thousands of years. Women across the ages of communed with nature, used their intuition and kicked ass but it's all looked down upon a lot these days because it's traditionally a feminine vocation. I think a lot of what I do is show that there's nothing spooky or scary about getting in touch with yourself and your surroundings. 

I will support #EachforEqual by recognising my privilege and amplifying women and their experiences around the world wherever I can. I'm not free until my black, trans, Queer, Muslim, Neurodivergent, disabled, indigenous and diverse sisters around the world are free too. And yes, before you ask, that means doing more than just lighting a candle in my bedroom. You've got to take real action where you can. 

I celebrate being a woman in so many different ways but, honestly, my favourite is having a nice herby bath with a fuck ton of candles around me while I check in with my intuition with my deck. And sure, maybe there's a nice glass of wine on the side too. 

Maria

Hi, I'm Maria, I have my own branding/illustration studio: Brand Rebel which I have run alongside my family for the past 6 years. You can find me @thisrebeldraws

My first inspiration was my high school art teacher Ms Stock. She was a Ms which was tres chic back in the early 90s and her artwork was like nothing I'd ever seen before. She really knew how to be herself and live her best life!

Less than 12% of the world's Creative Directors are women, and as an industry we have to ask ourselves why this is? Are women less creative than men? Are we less directory... Hell no, but it does seem that getting a seat at the table is a hell of a lot harder if you have a vagina... Many of us have created our own tables, and I personally find those female led agencies are creating some of the most creative and thought provoking work around today! 

I think that we will never be truly equal until we acknowledge that all of us are a blend of masculine and feminine energies and that stuffing ourselves into tiny boxes won't serve anyone. We need to allow men to be sensitive, feminine beings as much as celebrating women who have outstepped the gender norms. 

I celebrate being a woman by being true to who I am inside, regardless of how that is viewed by society. 

Hanna

I’m Hanna Andersen, leadership coach, diversity champion and founder of AS WE ARE, a coaching & training practice dedicated to increasing diversity in leadership. Check me out on insta @asweare.uk

I have been (and continue to be) inspired by so many women. They give me the fire in my belly to keep doing the work I do to increase representation for women and other underrepresented groups. Here are three: Amanda Murphy - Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK - I once heard Amanda say ‘stop trying to fix the women’. This resonated so hard. Everyone is trying to change women instead of changing the patriarchal system that we live it. There’s nothing wrong with the women, we’re brilliant as we are. Lauren Currie OBE - CEO of Stride and Founder of UPFRONT - Lauren’s work inspires me every single day. She’s not afraid to speak up and work in the open, she uses her platforms to amplify the voices of other women. Reni Eddo-Lodge - Author - When I read ‘Why I’m No Longer Speaking To White People About Race’ it was a wake up call. It has made me open my eyes and learn about the experiences of other women. This was fundamental in me taking an intersectional approach to my work.

The greatest challenge facing me as a woman in business is that we continue to be underrepresented. Both in the business world and the places where important decisions are being made, e.g government. This means that many systems and policies are just not designed with the lives of women in mind. 

I am supporting Each for Equal in a number of ways. I am speaking at events to highlight why we still need IWD. I am supporting a charity called Women for Women International. I am continuing to learn and read to make myself a better feminist every day. 

I celebrate being a woman by surrounding myself with as many amazing women as possible. Meeting other women gives me the fire I need to keep going with the work I do. 

Alice

My name is Alice Bjorkstrand, I am a freelance digital consultant based in Bristol - insta @kotodigital

I'm inspired every day by my group of girl friends. Some of them I grew up with, some of them I've met through work. Each of them are successful in their own rights in their careers and they're all so supportive of each other. There's nothing better than seeing a successful group of women support each other!

 

I work with a lot of female founded businesses, and I actually find being a woman in my field to be an advantage a lot of the time. However, I was talking to a friend recently about women with their own businesses (and women employed by a business), that often a bad period can really set you back a couple of days! It's not ideal to take a full day off when you're running your own business. It's something that men don't have to deal with.

I love the Each For Equal theme. I will be thinking more about how I can get involved in any organisations that support women and also how can I myself support women in my own business. I LOVE being a part of the amazing community The Coven, and love how supportive it is - I think this is the perfect example of women coming together collectively and helping to change the statistic that most successful businesses are run by men. I want to use this #eachforequal hashtag to be inspired and to inspire other women.

 

I am so lucky to have a big group of girl friends in my life - some near, some far - and every day we celebrate each other, even if it's just in small ways like sending messages of support on WhatsApp. As women, we work through the problems that we have together, and are emotionally supportive, which I don't think men always have in their lives. In a way, we're all celebrating being women every day by supporting each other!

CHARLOTTE

I’m Charlotte, I’m an artist and I run Sugar Storm Studio, a creative empowerment brand for the wild, the weird and the rebels. @sugarstormstudio on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Every single woman who stands up for what they believe in and are making moves inspire me to keep going in art and business. I’m particularly obsessed with the work of Florence Givern, Chidera Eggerue and Emily Coxhead and for being unapologetically themselves. 

There’s a big gender gap in the art world and a particular problem that traditional arts education is so focused on male achievements, and it’s a stereotype that running a business and being a boss is a man’s game. So it’s a case of pushing the platforms that highlight women, trans and non-binary artists and entrepreneurs to show that there are incredible womxn doing incredible things and there’s very much a place for us in these industries. 

I am part of an intersectional International Women’s Day exhibition in Southend which is all about policy making and raising conversations about the work that goes into making work. We are a group of artists who all work individually who are coming together to celebrate each other and build each other up to improve the art world for all of us. 

I’m learning to embrace my femininity and not see it as weakness as it is so often portrayed. I love surrounding myself with amazing women and supporting them and celebrating each other!

Scarlett

My name is Scarlett V Clark and I am the CEO of the UK's number one female empowerment organisation Smart Girl Tribe, we have a top-rated podcast, membership programme and wildly successful event series. You can find us @smartgirltribe across all platforms and @scarlett_victoria_clark for me personally.

My mum has inspired the way I work, being the most gracious woman I know, without a doubt she has taught me how to cultivate a fun and positive environment where genuine care and authenticity are at the core. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has also inspired me, not only through her tenacity and determination but her focus to change the world.

Women supporting women is still a constant struggle, both personally and professionally. Women have the tendency to believe that when another woman succeeds it's taking something away from her, which isn't true. Women don't need to find their voice, they need to feel encouraged to use it and then pull up chairs for sisters and bring megaphones, only then will there be true equality. 

I am very proud and grateful to have the team I do, celebrating womanhood means celebrating woman's choice, whatever that may look look. I make a huge effort to support women from different backgrounds, no matter our political, socioeconomic or even religious differences. You have to be the change you want to see in the world.

 

 

 

 

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