International Women's Day 2022: The Women Who Inspire Us

International Women’s Day is a day of reflection and celebration that occurs annually on the 13th March. A global movement that helps to raise awareness of the role of women across a whole range of industries, including the arts, sport, technology and healthcare.

This year, the theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, emphasising the important role that women have in sustainable practices and fighting climate change.

As a predominantly female team, we’re all about lifting up and supporting other women, inside and outside of our community. To celebrate International Women’s Day we thought it would be nice to spotlight a few of our favourite inspirational women.

Have a read about some of the W&M team's favourite women, who inspire us through their advocacy and art.

Tarana Burke - activist, entrepreneur

Most of us will know Tarana Burke for founding the #MeToo movement - a campaign that brings awareness to sexual abuse and assult, emphasisng that cases happen in everyday situations and are many times accepted in society. Seen widely on the red carpets of Hollywood in 2017 (and leading to her winning Time Person of the Year) thanks to women in entertainment calling out their abuser Harvey Weinstein, the phrase is now commonly used to campaign again sexual misconduct globally.

Tarana established this campaign in 2006 to raise awareness for the cause Prior to that as a teen and college student, she worked within her community to improve the lives of her peers. Organising conferences and protests surrounding racial and economic injustice.

Currently, she is the Senior Director of Girls for Gender Equality, an organisation based in her hometown of Brooklyn that creates opportunities in schools and the wider community for girls and young women. She is also founder of non-profit Just Be, developed in 2003 which is a program that promotes wellness for black girls aged 12-18.

Click here to preview her new memoir ‘Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement’ and follow her on Instagram here.

Bjork - musician, producer

You may know Bjork because of her incredible stage and red carpet style (who remembers the swan dress?!) but we're spotlighting her for her incredible work nurturing the career's of yound musicians and as a political and environmental activist.

In fashion, Bjork is known for working with renowned British design house Alexander McQueen, creating stage and editorial looks that match her out-of-this-world music. If you're looking for party or festival outfit inspiration, this is a great place to start!

Additionally to being an incredible songwriter and visual artist, througout her career, Bjork has been vocal about her political and environmental views too, in addition to supporting her home country of Iceland. From writing in protest to the Icelandic government to founding Nattura, an organisation that promotes grassroots industries and nature in the counrty.

As a multi-insturmentalist and producer, Bjork uses her talents to nurture the career of young musicians. From signing them to her independent label, to inviting them out on tour with her, she has been heaviliy invloved in helping young artists break and survive in the music industry.

Follow Bjork on Instargam here.

Dolly Parton - musician, philanthropist

With a career spanning six decades and coutning, the global supertar singer-songwriter has cultivated a follwoing of fans that have postivity at the forefront. From the start of her career, Dolly solidifed her role as a woman in music, making bold decisions in business, talking about women's issues both in her music and outside the studio, in addition to being an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

As well as being the Queen of Country, Dolly Parton's most recent god-like gesture was funding the research of the COVID vaccine - donating $1 million for the research fo the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in 2020.

Dolly is also known for founding a literary program, Dolly Parton's Imagaination Library, which donates books to children aross the US, Canada, Australia, UK and Ireland - in 2018 the total reaching 100 million books sent. Throughout her career, she has also worked with organisations such as PETA, the American Red Cross and HIV realted charities.

Click here to follow Dolly Parton on Instagram.

Adwoa Aboah - model, activist, entreprenuer

You've probably seen model Adwoa Aboah in a magazine or on the side of a bus (she'll also be in the new season of Top Boy), but we also know her for founding the platform Gurls Talk, a non-profit organsiation that provides resources surrounding mental health with the aim of creating a safe space for young women, girls and non-binary people.

Born from Adwoa's own personal stuggles with mental health, the organisation and launched in 2017, the organisation creates a wide range of content on issues such as body, health and general wellbeing with an aim of making advice and help more accessible. As well as an online platform, they host a podcast and regular live events.

In addition to Gurls Talk, Aboah also created the #CreativeTogether campaign, to unite people feeling anxious in during the pandemic. She was named one of the most Influential Black British people by the Powerlist in 2021.

Click here to browse the Gurls Talk website and follow Adwoa on Instagram here.

Iris Apfel - designer, businesswoman

An icon in so many ways (imagine making it to 100 years old!), Iris Apfel is one of the most well known people in the world of interior design. A self proclaimmed 'accidental icon' (that's the title of her autobiography too), Iris has added may strings to her bow throughtout her career.

Most prominently, Apfel spent the majority of her career designing the interiors for the White House, spanning the terms of nine presidents. Since then, she has soldified herself as a style icon, from lecturing on fashion and style, to collaborating with designers and even signing a modelling contract with global agency IMG age 97.

As a fond collector of vintage items, Apfel has become recognised for her ecclectic style, being the first person ever to have her personal collecetion of clothing and accessories be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2005.

Follow Iris on Instagram here.

For more on International Women's Day 2022, read our blog about things to do in London to celebrate.