Today is International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating by finding out a little bit more about the amazing women in the Support Partners family.
Christine Grinling, Jinny Nijjar, Emma Ellis, Lilla Farkas-Szilagyi and myself, Abbie Loadman, have decided to share our thoughts and opinions on the following topics around the women that inspire us and a short dip into our feelings around the importance of equality (as with most people out there, we could talk about this all day long!).
Which women inspire you and why?
Emma: My mum, for being the strongest, supportive and most selfless person I know.
Rupi Kaur – A Indian-Canadian poet well known for her pro-feminist stance and her award winning book ‘Milk and Honey’ – ‘Our backs tell stories, no books have the spine to carry’ – Women of Colour
Christine: Women in technology inspire me! It has been portrayed as such a male orientated industry that it is heartening and inspiring to see more women than ever in our Company, playing active roles in how we shape our business and in turn through their achievements becoming ace role models for other women in the industry.
Lilla: Mostly every day sheros, the women who are fierce to be who they are and not who others want them to be. Woman who speak up regardless who is listening. Woman who build up and support each other.
Abbie: Emma Watson’s recent work for the UN, the He-for-She campaign and her current work for the Time’s Up movement is incredibly inspirational, see Emma’s HeForShe campaign video from 2014.
Closer to home, my aunt has always been a huge source of inspiration. Her constant happiness and resilience in the face of life’s challenges fills me with an inner strength.
Jinny: JK Rowling for her incredible view of the world and, of course, that killer wit. Her commentary on the world via social media is outstanding.
Nora Ephron for being a fearless powerhouse in equality within the media industry. Her achievements (in both screenwriting and industry equality) can not be commended highly enough.
Who is your most inspirational fictional female character? On that note, what empowering film / tv show would you recommend watching / book would you recommend reading this international women’s day?
Emma: Ellen Ripley from Alien..because well- she’s just badass. Book – ‘The Female Eunuch’ by Germaine Greer (not ashamed to say I have a signed copy that I will treasure forever!)
Christine: The most recent true story book and film that struck me was the one told in “Hidden Figures” about the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, female scientists at NASA who in addition to being women in the 50’s/60’s were also Afro-American women fighting to do their jobs in segregated USA.
Lilla: This has to be Helen Mirren! Her acting in the “Woman in Gold” movie is not just breathtaking but shake you to the core! The strength that we as women carry and the many forms we are able to create will always keep the world go around.
Abbie: In the world of fictional characters, can we really get any greater than Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec? What a woman! Her constant enthusiasm, kindness, drive and belief that she can achieve anything she wants is all wrapped up in her insanely feminine nature. For me, she is proof that we can push to be constantly achieving (in our careers, as mothers, in all aspects of our lives) and yet be very feminine and proud of it. The things that make us female should be a privilege and an advantage, never a hindrance.
Jinny: Wow, there’s so many to choose from! As I watched this recently, i’m going to say Ellen Ripley from Alien/Aliens. She is motherly, intelligent, compassionate and a total bad-ass all rolled into one.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Emma: I’d love to have a photographic memory where I could just recall anything from the past without the need to write it down.
I’d also love to be bilingual and learn a new language. The goal is to visit South East Asia over the next few years, so i’d best get practicing my Japanese!
Christine: I would love to learn how to text at the speed my kids do without spelling mistakes!
Lilla: Well in my current form as human this is not really possible but still I would like to learn to fly.
Abbie: Speak many languages – I love the idea of being able to speak with and learn about people all over the World in their native language.
Jinny: I’d like to be able to design and build applications and games. The way we interact with technology so casually now fascinates me.
What’s your favourite thing about being a woman?
Emma: Cheaper car insurance…
Christine: My favourite thing about being a woman…..the fact that we are all tough cookies! Battling hormones, prejudice, objectification, juggling many balls, pretty much still having to justify what we do makes women incredibly resilient, oh and especially resistant to “man flu” ;P
Lilla: The ability to become a mother.
Abbie: Championing other women and their successes – seeing other women reach and dream and achieve is insanely motivating.
Jinny: I love that I have the freedom to be cooing over kittens and watching chick flicks one day, then be totally focused, driven and highly ambitious the next. I guess what i’m trying to say is that we have much more opportunity to keep hold of our femininity whilst commanding respect for our achievements. The world has come a long way and we get a day to celebrate being women now.. how great is that!
Are there any assumptions about women that would like to change? Why?
Emma: The assumption that men will always be physically ’stronger’ than women. I train regularly at my local gym and I’ve heard from so many men – friends and ex-partners over the years that men are physically stronger than women due to ‘science’ and ‘genetics’. Although this is true to some degree as our female physical forms are biologically different to a man’s in terms of height and structure – it is so much more about building upon and developing your core strength (which takes time and ALOT of patience regardless of whether you are male or female)
So i’ll remember those comments next time I’m training and lifting twice as much as the guy stood next to me!
Christine: If I were to change assumptions? where do I start…..
Lilla: I think it is getting better and better but there is still room to grow on this topic. In an ideal world I would like woman to be recognised feminine even if they don’t have only qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness. Remember a woman can carry the strong and the soft simultaneously. We are on a spectrum and depending on our surroundings we can be the devil or the angel. You choose!
Abbie: That our tendency to be more emotional than men somehow makes us weak. We are strong and we can achieve anything we put our minds too – whilst wearing our hearts on our sleeves – “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman”.
Jinny: That we need helping because our emotions get in the way of our abilities and judgement. Being patronised is not cool.
What does international women’s day mean to you?
Emma: Feeling empowered as women and recognising all the wonderful men who everyday treat women with respect and like equals – Because that’s the way it should be.
Christine: International Women’s Day is still VERY important. Only 100 years ago some women gained the right to vote in this country. It is clear to see how quickly women’s rights are degraded and the progress we thought we had made for our daughters seems sometimes quite fragile in the face of ugly machismo and anti-feminist movements women are experiencing in quite advanced countries such as USA (you know who). Of course in other countries women are still at a huge disadvantage and celebrating Women and especially the achievers, serves as a very empowering example to young girls around the world (Malala for example).
Lilla: It means recognition and love for women as whole.
Abbie: It’s the opportunity to celebrate women but, more importantly, every year it opens up the conversation about feminism, equality and how we can do more to support women around the world. 100 years ago, women in the UK were given the right to vote. We have progressed hugely since this moment however, whilst things like pay-gaps still exist, sexism still exists and we still have a way to go. This is a global problem. Until every woman in the world has the same rights as a man, we still have a way to go.
Jinny: It’s so nice to celebrate being a woman, how far we have come in terms of equality and for the world to reflect on the contributions we have made in shaping it.
We’re sure our views will resonate with many of you out there – we are empowered by the strong women around us, proud to be women in the tech industry and feel incredibly supported by the men within Support Partners.
Thank you to all our awesome SP women on International Women’s Day!