My Top 5 Inspirational Women

Fantastic article in the Independent last weekend on the 100 most influential women in the world. Apparently they started with thousands of deserving candidates to whittle down to just 100. Here are five of those distinguished women that I particularly admire:

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Millicent Garrett Fawcett

Suffragist, 1847-1929

Along with Emmeline Pankhurst, these ladies cannot be thanked enough. Millicent was leader of the constitutional faction of the British women’s suffrage movement and advocated a more peaceful means of winning the vote than some of her contemporaries. She also fought for women’s access to higher education, co-establishing Newnham College, Cambridge.

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Anita Roddick

Entrepreneur, 1942-2007

Her Body Shop cosmetics chain pioneered ethical consumerism long before it was remotely fashionable and was among the first to ban the use of ingredients tested on animals and to promote fair trade with Third World countries. She died of liver cirrhosis caused by long-standing hepatitis C. Some may be surprised to see her on my list as I was appalled at her selling the business to L’Oreal in 2007 but I think the change in culture she promoted for the decades before that cannot be undestimated. How many other shops followed Body Shop’s example in stopping animal testing. Thank you and RIP Anita who died far too young at just 55.

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Caroline Lucas

Politician

Born 1960

As I’ve recently joined the Green Party, and I’m standing for the General Election this year, it seems only proper and right to include the leader of the Green Party. Caroline Lucas will hopefully become Britain’s first Green MP in this year’s general election, and has given the party a mainstream image in the “Others” backwater of British politics. Formerly active in CND and Oxfam, she is also the vice-president of the RSPCA and the Stop the War Coalition and has been a very successful MEP for several years now, winning the prestigious title of Ethical Politician of the Year.

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Judi Dench

Actress

Born 1934

I just adore Judi Dench, she is our most amazing actress without a doubt. Her accolades include 10 Baftas, seven Laurence Olivier awards and one Oscar, won over more than 50 years, making her one of the greatest actresses of the post-war period. Her first love is theatre but her film work has burgeoned more recently since being cast as M in the James Bond films since 1995. Brilliant!

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Ellen MacArthur

Yachtswoman

Born 1976

We’ve got to have a sportswoman in my top five and this lady truly inspired me when she broke the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2005. She was not just the best woman but the best person in the world. Her achievements helped quash prejudices about women’s inferiority in sport. She has helped young people with serious illnessnes experience sailing with the Ellen MacArthur Trust.

You can click here to read the whole 100 list.

Woman’s Hour – WINNING WOMEN’S VOTES Campaign

16774_logoBetween now and the General Election, Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour will be looking at what matters most to you on the political agenda, and asking what would sway your vote. In a series of discussions across the coming weeks they will be focusing on issues in key areas such as education, the family and health.

You can listen to all of the discussions here which cover schools, health, parental leave, alcohol, equal pay, looking after the elderly, career options, unemployment, young people and women in politics.

Click here to find out more about the Woman’s Hour Winning Women’s Votes Campaign.

International Women’s Day 2010

Today is International Women’s Day, a special day which has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. As a Women’s Studies graduate, a mother and a lifelong feminist, this is a special day made especially memorable this year as I am standing as a candidate for the Green Party here in East Devon.

In 1928 British women were given the same rights as men to vote. This was ten years after women over the age of 3o were given the right to vote. Today, here in the UK, just one in five of our MPs is female. And while this figure is slightly better than the world average, we are trailing at the bottom end of the league table for European and established democracies.

Here’s some interesting Women’s Day things I’ve come across today & wanted to share with you:

http://www.girleffect.org/

Kathryn Bigelow is the first female director to win an Oscar today!