International Women’s Day shouldn’t really be a thing, in an ideal world with all things being equal it wouldn’t be needed… But it is, and we’re celebrating the inspirational work women do to promote equality, fair pay, work conditions and much more.
So we’ve decided to share 17 inspirational women, and female run businesses who are making a real difference. They may be people you have heard of, or others who aren’t on your radar, they’re all on Instagram so we’ve included links to their feeds, so you can be inspired, plus we’ve included a little bit of why we love them…
In no particular order…
Miss Kick – founded by Grace Vella to represent women in football this sport brand is all about encouraging community. With 2.5% of every order going to our charity, the Miss Kick Foundation, who provide free opportunities for girls to get into sport.
Anna Whitehouse – better known to some as Mother Pukka, Anna is shouting loudly about flexible working and making MP’s and corporates listen. Also an author (Underbelly is an amazing read), radio presenter, podcaster and all round powerhouse!
NickNackLou – Nicky is facing her breast cancer diagnosis head on and raising awareness along the way. We’re all aware of Dame Deborah’s fight and the amazing legacy she left, and Nicky is a fellow fighter who is raising awareness, sharing her journey, her living list and showing us that you only get one life, so live it – all with the biggest smile on her face.
Pregnant then Screwed – started by Joeli Brearley this platform for change is fighting for women’s rights in the workplace from pregnancy through to returning to work. With the ear of parliament Joeli is making waves, the site provides advise, helplines and the opportunity to have your say.
The Nurse Mum – Kaytee is mum to Jaxon, whilst dealing with his complex medical needs together mother and son enjoyed amazing adventures which were shared on Instagram. Jaxon sadly lost his fight in 2021 and Kaytee shares her grief openly with her followers and is helping so many who find themselves in such heartbreaking situations. On Jaxon’s 5th birthday she organised a ball to raise money for the hospice that cared for them both and another is planned for this year.
Zandile Ndhlovu – The self named ‘Black Mermaid’ Zandile on a mission to get more African people enjoying coastal waters. Under water she had discovered the place where she felt most herself, but it was seen by her fellow black Africans as a “white space”. Her love of the water compelled her to give up her steady 9-5 job and she trained to become South Africa’s first black African freediving instructor.
Freedom4Girls – Founded by Tina Leslie this charity is breaking the taboos and gender inequalities associated with menstruation. Providing women with a voice they educate through workshops, provide period products, promote choice and support environmentally and financially sustainable options.
Cat Sims – is better known by her Insta handle Not So Smug Now. She creates brilliant content putting sexist male videos to shame. The author and podcaster has also documented her journey to sobriety and is very honest about her relationship, often saying the things we’re all thinking but don’t want to say.
Collctiv – this app is a game changer for any organiser (we all know one, or are one!). Collctiv lets you collect money for everything in one place (think teacher gift, weekends away, meals out), so you aren’t chasing £3 here and £5 there into your account. As the organiser you only send one link – genius! The brainchild of Amy Whitell, who is one of many females entering the tech space and we’re forever grateful to her for making mum life that bit easier!
Davina McCall – we all know Davina, it’s safe to say she is a legend. As well as her presenting, writing and fitness roles, more recently she has been talking openly about menopause; this important conversation has opened the floodgates for women to be more open about the symptoms and issues.
Helen Hardy – Women’s football is in the spotlight and growing a brilliant, passionate following. Super fan Helen Hardy saw that it was impossible to buy shirts with her favourite female players names on the back, so she set up Foudys (named after US player Julie Foudy) – the only official retail store dedicated to women’s football kits. She also founded Manchester Laces – Manchester’s first inclusive women’s and non-binary football team. Her dedication to women’s football has led to her portrait being painted on the steps of Wembley. Oh, and in her ‘spare time’ she commentates on women’s matches on the BBC!
Coppafeel! – Founded in 2009 by Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister after Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23, Coppafeel! educate women to know and understand their breasts so any changes can be caught quickly. Kris will always live with cancer, her mission is to get the message out there to young people that catching cancer early means you have a higher chance of surviving and recovering. She does this with tireless fundraising, she’s written a book and starred in a documentary. The Coppafeel annual treks are a sought after adventure for women with cancer and those affected by it that raise money, and awareness, while exploring far flung places.
Candice Brathwaite-Aboderin – Writer, podcaster, TV presenter and social media personality Candice is a fashion loving role model for young, black, British women – and anyone who loves a handbag! Her book ‘Cuts Both Ways’ is a heart-warming look into growing up black in Britain. Candice also hosts podcast Pillow Talk with her husband, in it they discuss their relationship and cultural affairs – it’s a great listen.
Suzanne Baum – freelance journalist Suzanne has been thrown into the spotlight recently following the tragic story of missing mother Nicola Bulley. Her thoughtful, considered journalistic style put devastated family and friends at ease and really shone a spotlight on the negative way the media report a story. On the back of the case Suzanne has resigned from several large media groups as she no longer wished to be associated with the clickbait headlines.
Elle Wright – possibly better known as @feathering_the_empty_nest Elle is mother to Teddy who sadly passed away three days after birth, and her rainbow baby girl. Writing about her experiences on a blog as she navigated the devastation of coming home without her baby she hopes to make the path brighter for others. Her book followed and Ask Me His Name is a Sunday Times Bestseller. Her second book A Bump in the Road (released in April) covers the subsequent journey through secondary infertility and IVF – a story that will unfortunately be familiar to so many.
Samantha Renke – Growing up with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Sam felt restricted by the labels other people put on to her. After a spinal fusion operation, which almost left her paralysed in her early twenties, she decided to quit her job and move from Lancashire where she’d grown up, to London to start the life she’d always envisioned for herself. Now an author, charity campaigner and public figure Sam has certainly following her dreams and proving that anyone can do anything.
Scamp & Dude – created by Jo Tutchener-Sharp this colourful fashion brand with a love of leopard print, lightening bolts and stars also has a lovely story. After being separated from her children during a lengthy stay in hospital undergoing life saving brain surgery Jo wanted to create a brand that helps children feel more secure by filling them with superpowers. ‘A superhero has your back’ is the slogan on these original pieces and the embroidered lightening bolt on each item is reminder of this. A firm favourite in our house.