As mentioned in our previous post, we’re a brand with women at the helm, and our heart. To celebrate International Women’s Day (8th March) we asked for your stories about women who have supported you. A huge thank you to everyone who entered. We were overwhelmed by the response and our Liz Earle panel found it difficult to choose – all inspiring in their own right, have a read of our 5 winning stories…
My mum is my biggest inspiration, if it wasn’t for her love and support I wouldn’t have made it as a firefighter – she made me believe in myself from the start, even through the challenging days she knew better days would come. She has continued to inspire me even more so in the last year when both she and my granny were diagnosed with breast cancer. Through the daily challenges my mum faced she always managed to smile and ask me about my day. Mum is always thinking of other people and puts their needs before her own. I help and change people’s lives every day but it’s heartbreaking when you can’t help the most precious lady in your life and all you can do is support her the way she has me for the last 24 years. This year we are holding a family fundraising day at the fire station – I hope the day will raise plenty of money for charity and spread a little bit of happiness throughout the community. Together us ladies will win the fight.
Last year, my daughter Reanne worked incredibly hard to pass her A-levels and applied for an Engineering Apprenticeship with a huge car manufacturer. Due to her dedication to her studies and her natural talent, she has now embarked on an amazing career as a female in a male-dominated environment – 10,000 people applied and only 160 individuals were chosen. She’s showing that women have an equal place and a significant part to play in developing our technological future. So proud.
I'd like to nominate all the women in my sports league – Central City Rollergirls in Birmingham. Our league is a grassroots, self-run roller derby league. Roller derby is traditionally dominated by women, and I find it a unique space for women in sport. The women in my league are all from diverse backgrounds – different ages, countries of birth and occupations. These are women I wouldn’t have met or become friends with if it were not for this sport. These women are playing at national and international levels, with some in our league representing their countries at this year's Roller Derby World Cup. Our league is made up of dedicated women, battling to be the best at their sport, working hard to train outside of practice, overcome mental health issues, support and coach new members and grow the sport. If I feel like not going, I just think about these strong women that I am lucky enough to know and it gets me to that sports hall!
My inspiration is my sister, Amy. She’s 3 years younger than me and while it’s fair to say we get along now, we haven’t always done. We have very different traits but are incredibly similar in so many ways, particularly as we get older. We lost our mum 17 years ago this year, she was only 49 when she died. I was 19 and away at university, while Amy was 16 and still at school, effectively watching my mum deal with a hideous illness while trying to study at school and I was 300 miles away. This year marks the point where she has lived longer without her mum than with her. She has had her fair share of ups and downs but has fought her way through all of them with her determined attitude and a healthy dose of sarcasm. Last year we had the pleasure of watching her get married and I was her maid of honour, as she will be mine next year. I’m so proud of her and who she has become – just don’t tell her as she’d roll her eyes and call me ‘lame’.
My mentor is my mum, Nasreen. My mum fought to have an education in a country where education for women was taboo (Pakistan). She went on rallies and educated other girls. As she grew older she offered her services for free to people in her community. She helped the women around her communicate with their loved ones by writing letters for anyone who was illiterate, to sort out their bills by offering them a cup of tea and translating their mail for them. When she came to England, she instilled education in her children. I am proud to say my mum went against community norms and insured I stood on my own two feet and got an education. I specifically remember her coming to my bedroom one day and saying: "Your education is something that will help you stand tall for the rest of your life." Today it is because of my mum (and dad) and THAT statement that I have completed a PhD and am now a medical scientist helping save people's lives. To me my mum is not just my hero but a hero to the community of women around her.