top of page
Search

Celebrating Female Power This Women’s History Month

By Lesley Kituka, Community Organiser at Sex Ed Matters


We are thrilled to present a special blog highlighting the influence of women this Women’s History Month. Throughout history, women’s contributions to society have often not been given enough credit. From mothers, friends, sisters and historical figures, women are influential and we want to showcase the diverse and profound ways women impact the world we live in. 


We encouraged members of our community to share their thoughts, stories and reflections about a  woman who has influenced their life. Their answers showcase the diversity, power and strength of women. Check out their responses below..


The woman I want to pick is: Ya Asante-waa, she was an Ashanti (Ghanian) queen who led the Ashanti people in a colonial war against the British in the 1900s, this war was called the ‘War of the Golden Stool’. The golden stool was a cultural and sacred artefact that held deep meaning for the Ashanti people, the British wanted to steal it in order to effectively colonise the Ashanti people. Yaa Asante-Waa chose to fight an impossible battle, she chose death before dishonour, she chose to resist and defy immorality wherever she could to its extremity, she embodied values and principles that stand the test of time, as Ghanian she represents the archetypal Ghanian.”


Sam, 24


“I would like to highlight my mother as an influential woman in my life. Although we have vastly different lived experiences, it is in these differences that allow us to learn from each other, and it is her words of wisdom and care that influence the shaping of my perspectives on life. I treasure the moments of serious conversations but also those full of laughter which deepen my appreciation for her presence in my life.”


Stephanie, 20


“Tamyra is the person I look up to even though she's my little sister because when it comes down to it she has an inner strength to achieve her goals and the tenacity to fight for them that I respect and admire in her.”


Jon, 24


A woman who I look up to and am inspired by is Huda Kattan, the founder of Huda Beauty. She is an Iraqi-American who has one of the most successful and well known cosmetics brand worldwide. She inspires me as she uses her power and fame in various ways, not being afraid to speak her mind and support different causes. She is open about her culture and religion and is proud of who she is, where she comes from and the struggles she has faced. 


“She is a positive influence for young Muslim women in particular as she demonstrates that you can be successful regardless of stereotypes and labels. She also uses her social media platforms to speak about humanitarian causes and social issues which is brave of someone in her industry to do as it often leads to termination of brand deals. 


“Another influential woman who is outspoken and proud of her heritage is Bella Hadid. Like Huda, she has also used her social media platforms to share her opinions regardless of the termination of brand deals and loss of followers. I just think that these women have been brave to preserve and withhold their cultures.” 


Annum, 26


“International women’s day stands to celebrate the achievements of women, and therefore I believe to be an excellent opportunity to reflect on the women of history that have made the  successes of today possible. Therefore, this international women’s day I want to highlight the life of Emily Davison. 


“Emily Davison was a staunch feminist, best known for being ‘the suffragette who threw herself under a horse’, she  wholeheartedly believed that women’s rights benefited the whole of humanity. Often, radicalism or ‘wokeness’ is something critics try to pin down as a twenty-first century issue, as though it’s only in this modern age that activism has been taken ‘too far’, compared to the supposed olden days when it was palatable and tame. Radical feminism is not new. The act of diminishing younger and ‘new’ feminism as something that needs to be dialled back is an intentional move to suppress militancy. Emily is living proof that there have always been those interested in achieving true intersectional feminism, even when this goes against not only the beliefs of wider society, but sometimes even fringe groups like women of the suffrage movement. 


“Emily insisted her crusade was for ‘the whole human race’ and ‘necessary for evolution’. Unlike her American counterparts campaigning for ‘white women only’, Emily condemned the dehumanisation of racism in America.


“Emily was arrested on nine occasions, went on hunger strike seven times and as a result force-fed on forty-nine occasions. These are not halfhearted acts, they are intense, intentional and sometimes life-threatening measures. Women like Emily should be remembered on days like international women’s day, not only to recognise the sacrifices those that came before us had to make but to contextualise intersectionality of today. For me, feminism is inherently linked to equity and liberation, any successes we achieve today must benefit all women regardless of race, class and identities.”


Millie, 21


"In honour of International Women's Day, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate my amazing little sister, Daya, who's just 9 years old but already she's like a little powerhouse of kindness, always encouraging me to be a better person. What's even more special is how she's opened my eyes to new ways of supporting and championing women in my life!"


Leela, 22


“I love my big sister and consider her to be a great influence in my life. She is the first person (and woman!) in our family to go to university, demonstrating that women ARE intelligent and CAN exceed to the level that men do. I value my education more as I now view it as a tool to make the changes I want in this world.”


Yasmin, 16


Though I never truly knew my grandmother, the tales of her resilience and unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes, recounted with pride by my family, have always deeply inspired me.

“In Judaism, we hold the principle of 'Tikun Olam' to heal the world. My grandmother embodied this core value through her tireless work on social justice, using education as a tool for tolerance and informed activism in pre and post-Apartheid South Africa.

“She dedicated her life to ensuring that women's voices, particularly those of Jewish women, are heard on both local and national stages, serving as the president of the South African Union of Jewish Women, and representing the Jewish Community in the Women's National Coalition.

“Her legacy inspires me to approach activism with compassion and steadfastness. She embodied the principles of collaboration, emphasizing the importance of reaching across divides to work with people of differing opinions, even those who may have caused us harm, in our pursuit of equality for all.

“To be told by my mother that I remind her of her mother is the highest compliment I can ever receive.”

Talya


“Marilyn Monroe is a complete icon! Despite being viewed as a sex object specifically for the male gaze, Monroe fearlessly challenged societal norms. In the entertainment industry, she advocated for fair pay, respectful working conditions, and even established her own production company to secure creative freedom - a move virtually unheard of for a woman in her time!


“Beyond her professional achievements, Monroe spoke out about sexual violence she endured at the hands of powerful men, and stood in solidarity with singer Ella Fitzgerald by pushing back against discriminatory practices during an era of heightened racism.


Monroe’s boldness in the face of adversity serves as an inspiration, which is why I find her so incredible. She truly showcases the art of how using your voice can make a difference, and in doing so she changed the landscape for women working in the entertainment industry. Her legacy has taught me how important it is to fight for what you believe in, no matter how out of reach it feels. Marilyn Monroe is an icon who was truly ahead of her time.”


Sophie


“My nan is a wonderful woman in my life. She reminds me of how different generations have faced different barriers because of their gender, and she is an example of kindness and strength to me, despite these barriers. I would wish everyone has a female figure like her in their lives.”


Ella, 22


"The women that come to my mind are those in my family line such as my sister, mother, aunty. The reason being is how they have allowed themselves to step out of the cultural box which demands women to be one way, stay at home and only allowing the male to show up in the world. There is nothing wrong with those who choose that, however they chose freedom within themselves to step out and explore other aspects of themselves- academically, career wise, leadership wise. This is inspiring to me, coming from a cultural pattern where this is not revered, it has paved a way for me to freely explore and choose from my own will.”


Rea, 22


My own personal female heroes are the ones that have shown me it is okay to take up space in male-dominated environments. They are the ones that have inspired me to continue my interest in science and psychology even if I am not a man. Psychologists such as Martha Bernal, Melanie Klein, Mamie Philips Clarke and Inez Beverley Prosser are standouts in their field, and they have paved the way for women and women of colour to have the confidence to make their stand and share their opinions.


From everyday heroes to historical trailblazers, these contributions remind us that a diverse range of women have the strength and power to shape the world we live in and inspire others. Thank you to those who shared their stories and helped us celebrate the remarkable women in the world.


If you have any questions about what you’ve read, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at info@sexedmatters.co.uk. You can also sign up to our newsletter here to stay up to date with our work. Lesley will be writing more blogs for us in future months.



37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page