From Nottingham to New Zealand, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world every year on 8th March.
This joint push for gender equality is an important reminder that a society that equally respects women, men and all genders is crucial to ending domestic abuse. As we all unite to #PressforProgress (this year’s theme), we’re taking a moment to recognise just some of the women who’ve done the same over the years.
You can also find out how to celebrate International Women’s Day in style with us.
Mary Wollstonecraft (27th April 1759 – 10th September 1797)
An English writer and passionate advocate for women’s educational and societal rights, Mary Wollstonecraft defied social norms from a young age. She left the home of her abusive father to dedicate herself to writing, encouraged and supported her sister to leave her husband and, made plans to live in a mutually supportive environment with her friends (a ‘female-utopia’).
Her seminal work, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, argues that women are not naturally inferior to men and that women should have access to education. She is often cited as a huge influence in the feminist movement and as one of the founding feminist philosophers.
Mary Jackson (9th April 1921 – 11th February 2005), Katherine Johnson (26th August 1918 – present day), Dorothy Vaughn (20th September 1910 – 10th November 2008)
These incredible women have recently been immortalised in the record-breaking, Hollywood Blockbuster, Hidden Figures – finally getting some of the recognition they deserve.
Fighting sexism and racism, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn, all African-American mathematicians, changed the world in more ways than one when the work they did as ‘human computers’ helped NASA to win the space-race.
Katherine Johnson finished university by the time she was just 18 years old. Her important work made it possible for Alan Sheppard and John Glenn to go to space.
Dorothy Vaughn finished university by the time she was 19 years old. After working as a human computer, she went on to work with the first electronic computers at NASA.
Mary Jackson completed two degrees, in Science and in Mathematics, and went on to work directly with flight test engineers.
Marsha P. Johnson (24th August 1945 – 6th July 1992)
The work – the unpaid labour – that African-American Marsha P. Johnson did in her lifetime to support people with AIDS, as well as young trans, gender non-conforming, and gay street children is beyond inspirational. She opened shelters with friends to provide safety and community, financing them through sex work.
She was constantly involved in activism for equality and specifically gay rights, including a pivotal role at the Stonewall uprising. This led to the first Pride march in New York city and is generally recognised as the beginning of the gay liberation movement in the United States.
Her importance in fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights has often been obscured in mainstream movements throughout the years, though her influence remains strong.
Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (25 October 1900 – 13 April 1978)
Heralded as ‘The Mother of Africa’, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti left a legacy to women in Nigeria to fight for their rights.
An activist, educator, and passionate political campaigner, she was one of the most prominent leaders of her generation and a forerunner of second wave feminism. She also co-founded the Abeokuta Women’s Union – a Nigerian organisation with more than 20,000 grassroots members all fighting for economic equality through price regulation and the abolition of separate taxes for women.
If you’re a woman, take time to reflect and recognise your own personal achievements today – however you define them, on your own terms. If you’re a man, why not take some time today to help the women in your life #PressforProgress towards gender equality and end men’s violence against women? Whatever your gender, even seemingly small acts can change the world for those around us.
Thanks for taking the time to read this – and happy International Women’s Day for the 8th March!
Celebrate International Women’s Day with us!
Dedicate some time to you and your friends, with bubbles, a cream tea and live entertainment at our High Tea & Fizz event on 8th March 2018.
You’ll be helping to #PressforProgress by supporting us and our partner, Women’s Aid Integrated Services. Together we can end domestic abuse and achieve gender equality.
Find out more and book now.