In the spirit of International Women’s Month and Mother’s Day, we at Impact Features are paying homage to the women who inspire us. From mothers to politicians to teachers, women have impacted Impact’s contributors deeply.
As cliché as it sounds my mum inspires me the most – although I’d never tell her that.
My mum moved back to the UK leaving her immediate family back home for good when she was only a year older than me to build the future she wanted. I often reflect on the stories she would tell me about living in a woman’s suffrage and the challenges she faced as a full-time pregnant student with a full-time job. All these stories remind me of how strong she is and how she has always been willing to put herself on the line to make sure my sisters and I never lacked anything whilst growing up.
My mum inspires me every day to take positive action, pursue new ventures no matter how scary they seem and to be humbly confident wherever I am.
she was a superhero, sailing my duck over the gnarliest waves in my bathtub
Amma always believes in me. Amma’s apron was a staple of my childhood, patterned with funky drawings and synonyms for ‘yummy’. When she wore it around her neck like a cape, she was a superhero, sailing my duck over the gnarliest waves in my bathtub, and holding my hand to jump over a puddle. Sometimes, Amma would lie with me on the grass and say that the clouds are puffs of ‘magic’ in a sea of blue. She’d grab a piece of the ‘magic’ and rub it on my forehead and tell me I can do wonders. Thank you Amma, for inspiring me to be the best version of myself every day.
A woman who inspires me is my Grandma. She was for most of her life a single mother to 5 children, in Nigeria. Despite obstacles of the patriarchy, sexism and general suppression of female voices, she was the first female Chair of the Federal Civil Service Commission.
In a government dominated by bigoted men, she served prominently under 4 different governments, spanning about 5 decades of commitment to country.
Most impressive was her determination to never compromise on her morals among a government so flippant about corruption.
This inspires me, will undoubtedly inspire my future children and I hope has inspired you as well!
My choice for a woman who has always inspired me is my old ballet teacher. She taught me from age 4 to 16, and despite being a bit scary at times, taught me a lot about how to be a human being as well as how to dance. Even though I’ve left now, I’ve been watching on social media as she’s continued to keep her business open even through lockdown, and continued to support young dancers pre-lockdown through competitions and shows. She’s impacted so many young lives, including my own, and I’m so glad that the pandemic hasn’t treated her too roughly.
from being a waitress to holding political office
In 2018, a record number of women were elected to the US House of Representatives. Among them dressed in suffragette white, was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for New York’s 14th Congressional District.
AOC, as she is affectionately known, is an inspiration for many reasons – not many people go from being a waitress to holding political office, for a start – but what truly inspires me about her is how unapologetic she is in her bid to fight for justice.
Watching her call out those in higher positions of power fearlessly and without hesitation inspires, not just me, but an entire generation of young women as well. It is attitudes like these that are essential to shattering the glass ceiling that looms over us. AOC has helped me realise I have a right to advocate for the changes I want to see in the world, no matter what anyone tries to tell me. So, thank you Alexandria, for showing me that my opinion does mean something in this world.
this group of women inspire me to identify as a feminist
The Feminist Coalition is a group of 13 young Nigerian women with a mission to champion equality for women with a core focus on education, financial freedom and representation in public office. During the #EndSARS protests, they also crowdsourced and disbursed donations across various states whilst juggling full-time jobs, motherhood and the paranoia of being targeted by government agencies.
Besides their achievements in a short time period, this group of women inspire me to identify as a feminist and challenge the prejudices of gender expectations, especially in a country that has not always been supportive of women’s rights.
I think a group of women who are inspiring to me are the girl-group Little Mix. They’ve made me realise that being opinionated as a woman is okay. The members are philanthropists and are not afraid to speak up about things – Jesy Nelson (regarding trolling and cyberbullying), Leighanne Pinnock (about colourism and racism), Jade Thirlwall (who speaks up about LGBTQ+ rights and her Arabic heritage) and Perrie Edwards (who speaks up about her anxiety). All 4 of the members have also spoken up about female empowerment and have even written songs about their experiences as women.
For me, a woman who is immensely inspiring is Deborah Frances-White. Deborah is a comedian and the creator of The Guilty Feminist, a podcast which humorously and informatively explores the hypocrisies of the patriarchy. Deborah speaks to a diverse range of guests, with whom she discusses various topics, including LGBTQ rights, help for refugees, racism, mental health, and sexism. Her witty ‘I’m feminist but…’ jokes never fail to make me laugh, while her more serious conversations educate me about current affairs within society.
DePrince defied expectations, overcoming trauma, conventional beauty standards and racial barriers
Before university, I was training to be a professional ballerina. One of my inspirations was Michaela DePrince. Born into a war-torn Sierra Leone, her life was filled with tragedy: her father was killed by rebels, her mother succumbed to fever and starvation, her beloved pregnant teacher murdered before her eyes and DePrince ostracised within the orphanage due to a skin condition, vitiligo.
One day, DePrince saw a photograph of a ballerina and set her heart on becoming just like her. After her adoption by an American family, DePrince defied expectations, overcoming trauma, conventional beauty standards and racial barriers to make it as a star in a top ballet company. Despite my personal passion for ballet fading, DePrince remains one of my biggest inspirations.
As physical proof of the truism that with hard work, anything is possible, I refer back to her story often when I need a reminder that women are capable of incredible feats.
In article image courtesy of @kikimordi via Twitter.
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