Image for The women that inspire you, by Positive News readers

The women that inspire you, by Positive News readers

We asked readers which women have made a difference to you. From mums and wives to trailblazing public lives, this is what you said

We asked readers which women have made a difference to you. From mums and wives to trailblazing public lives, this is what you said

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we had a feeling that the Positive News community could most poignantly help us to capture what women bring to our lives and to society.

We weren’t wrong. Mothers cropped up most frequently by far in your responses, closely followed by grandmothers, aunts and other female relatives, including a moving tribute to his wife from one reader in New Zealand.

You were also quick to nominate women who are making positive ripples in the public realm: a global climate leader and a comedian among them. Energising friends and galvanising colleagues were applauded too, as well as many more brilliant women in responses that we unfortunately lack the space to publish.

We loved reading all of your suggestions – thank you for getting in touch.

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“My wife is the most inspiring woman in my life. She has gone through so much difficulty in her life – loss, being ill-treated, and of course the generational trauma of being a woman in our society – and managed to rise above it to become a beacon of compassion, kindness, authenticity and joy. She inspires me to be authentically myself, to be resilient in times of struggle, and to love more fully.” – George, Aotearoa

“Katy Hessel [@thegreatwomenartists], Dr Emma Southon and others in their specialist fields who are doing their best to correct the male-biased history narrative: a really positive way to correct perceptions and improve the narrative for future generations.” – @tallyallylou via Instagram

“This year International Women’s Day would have been my mum, Rose’s, 100th birthday. This quiet, capable, brave lady was my first example of an independent woman [who was] able to survive and provide through adversity. I have been lucky to know many other inspirational women since then, but for me she is at the top of the list.” – Lesley, Scotland, UK 

'Human, practical, insightful and so empathetic' – Christiana Figueres was head of the UN climate change convention that achieved the Paris agreement in 2015. Image: Julien Paquin / Hans Lucas

“Christiana Figueres is an absolute inspiration. Her work, her podcasts, and her book The Future We Choose helped give me hope again and to find my way out of overwhelming eco-anxiety, which was controlling my life. The way she approaches her work is so human, practical, insightful and so empathetic, it’s truly transformative. I hope anyone struggling with anxiety about the future gets to read her book.” – Sophie, Cumbria, UK 

“My mother. She has been a role model to me forever. She’s always been hardworking, outrageously glamorous, kind, and not afraid to speak her mind. She has always (and continues) to tell me that I shouldn’t do anything I don’t want to, or anything that makes me uncomfortable. She has helped me and my brother to find our true selves much sooner than we would have without her. She loves us just as we are, and we support each other every single day.” – Leah, Wales, UK 

“Sandi Toksvig. She has remained her authentic, funny, clever, kind self during a time when an industry (comedy) and society (she came out as gay a while before anyone else had) had other ideas for her. She is loved and respected by so many, and hasn’t had to force her way there with aggression or arrogance. She is a champion of women’s right and has dedicated time to making the world a better, more equal place for women. I truly look up to her.” – Ruth, London, UK 

“While applauding all women who are boldly making an impact in public arenas, let’s also laud the legions of those who make difficult daily contributions of forgiveness, patience, sacrifice and love within the private sector of their families, where leadership truly begins.” – Mike, California, US 

Rachel Weiss, founder and chair of Menopause Cafe, has inspired Heather from Perth. Image: stock/Unsplash

“Rachel Weiss, founder and chair of Menopause Cafe. I became aware of Rachel and the Menopause Cafe charity when exploring my own menopause. I discovered this amazing, unpretentious, inclusive woman who had an idea to provide a place for people to support each and discuss the highs and lows of hormonal change. Rachel had a dream and she went with it, in her own time, with no financial backing, ended up creating a charity with over 400 cafe hosts across the world. Rachel is a voice of reason, expertise and hope. I feel privileged to have met and worked with her.” – Heather, Perth

“A woman who inspires me is Manda Brookman, director of the Permanently Brilliant social enterprise and the CoaST Project. She is a leader in climate and ecological change as well as resilience and creative disruption. Having worked with Manda for over 20 years she never failed to inspire, encourage and stand by me in everything I do. She is the most caring person I know and the world is a better place with her in it. If only we had more Mandas, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now! Love her to bits!” – Marja, Cornwall, UK

Main image: jacoblund/iStock

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