Achievement comes in many forms

By Claire Herriott

You’d have to have been living under a rock not to know that it was International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2018.

And depending on who you are, where you are, what your situation is, the day will have its own unique meaning for you. A day for action? A day for reflection? A day for pressing forward?

From articles, interviews, documentaries, and books that we’ve been reading our discussions made us think more deeply about women that we admire, role models, inspirational figures that value individual and collective success.

We all wrote a piece about the women that we admire and learnt a little bit more about each other.

Malala Yousafzai

Cathy wrote about Malala, hard not to be moved by this incredible young woman.

On October 9, 2012, a gunman boarded Malala’s school bus in Pakistan and shot her three times in the head. Her crime? Speaking out about education for girls.

As the mother of 2 young daughters, I’m grateful that they have access to education and live in a society where gender equality is not a topic that will get you executed.

Malala survived and is using her experiences to ensure we don’t forget that in many parts of the world, equality is still a long way off.

Violet Van der Elst

Gemma wrote about Violet Van der Elst after watching a documentary about her.

Initially it was her name that caught my attention as it’s my daughter’s name but as I learnt more about her character and her life I realised what an amazing woman she was. Born in 1882, Violet Van der Elst was a highly eccentric self-made businesswoman from a working-class background. She made her millions inventing and selling face creams and beauty lotions and was also a committed campaigner against the death penalty. She poured the money she earnt into vigorous campaigns, raising awareness with self-published books and publicity drives. Her direct-action techniques saw planes trailing black flags and brass bands marching to Handel’s Funeral March from ‘Saul’ outside prisons on execution day. Whilst she died, penniless, in 1966, she did live to see the rewards from her protesting – the death penalty was abolished a year earlier in 1965.

Valentina Tereshkova

Chris wrote about Valentina Tereshkova after watching a documentary about her.

Valentina Tereshkova was a former textile worker from the Soviet Union, who in 1963, became the first woman in space, orbiting the earth forty-eight times. Putting the previous four American astronauts – all male – to shame with their combined total of thirty-six orbits. Not only that, she logged more flight time than the total combined times of every American astronaut who had flown before her. Pushing boundaries in every sense of the word!

Laura Kenny, CBE.

Lucy’s a multiple marathon runner, an admirer of Laura Kenny and wrote this.

Laura Kenny CBE is an English track and road cyclist who specialises in the team pursuit, omnium and scratch race disciplines and holds four gold medals. Kenny is both the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history and Great Britain’s most successful Olympic female competitor in any sport. Six months after giving birth to her son Albert, Laura Kenny helped Great Britain to a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

Jo Malone, MBE

Sonya wrote this after reading Jo Malone’s autobiography

Jo Malone MBE is a British perfumer, the founder of companies Jo Malone London and Jo Loves. Malone grew up in a council house in Bexleyheath, Kent, had severe dyslexia and left school without any qualifications. She founded her company in her kitchen in 1983, in 1999, Malone sold Jo Malone London to Estée Lauder for “undisclosed millions”.

Serena Williams

Claire reflected on a Radio 5 Live interview with Serena Williams

We all know her story from humble beginnings to dominating women’s tennis as number one for what seems forever, an outstanding athlete. Six months ago, she had her first baby, complications during birth meant she came close to death. During her interview she said she’s not giving up, she doesn’t expect to lose, that’s something she’d never say to herself. But she’s going to see where she goes. She’s going to get better every day.

It was such an honest account of her hard work to get back to the tennis circuit, it’s clearly been tough, but she’s going to keep working hard to get back to the number one spot.

Her clearest message was about speaking up, she highlighted a statistic that black women in the US are more than three times as likely as white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth. And that now more than ever it’s time to speak up whether about healthcare, equal pay or sexual harassment, it is time for women to be comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations. We all agree with her about that.

Now more than ever here at White Label we value collective success.