From the Founder: Why We Need to Celebrate International Women's Day - One Day Creative
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March 07, 2022

From the Founder: Why We Need to Celebrate International Women’s Day

Significant Women in History workshop for primary schools: pic by Outwood Primary Academy Kirkhamgate

When I was in my teens, I read a book that changed my life. It was called Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, about a princess born into fantastic wealth, yet with little freedom of her own. I remember, as a young woman fortunate enough to have been raised in the UK, feeling shocked that someone so wealthy could be so trapped. More than anything, I was haunted by the idea that any girls were not entitled to go to school and receive an education of their own.

The princess in this book, based on a true story, was born in 1928. Much has changed in Saudi Arabia since then. So too, have I become more aware of the systemic biases in our own country. However, it was the knowledge that children could be denied fair access to education that contributed to me becoming the business owner I am today.

Who we’re celebrating this International Women’s Day

In a meeting just before Christmas 2021, One Day’s all-woman office team began to develop a new workshop to celebrate International Women’s Day. We already have a number of female-focused workshops. Florence Nightingale, Grace Darling and Rosa Parks are popular with KS1. But we were keen to expand this offering. Who would inspire and motivate young minds?

Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, was an immediate choice. An education activist and the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, she was attacked for her belief that all children, regardless of gender, have a right to education. However, rather than be silenced, she continued advocating for a world where girls are able to reach their full potential. Her bravery and impact are nothing short of extraordinary.

As a Civil Engineer’s daughter (I think my dad would have loved for me to go into engineering, although he encouraged my love for performing arts!), I was eager to highlight a woman within this under-represented field. Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Not only that, but during her life she worked hard to champion opportunities for women in aviation.

Staying within the STEM theme, my husband (a computer coder) and I have spoken for years about creating a workshop covering the mathematician and ‘world’s first computer programmer’, Ada Lovelace. For many children today it’s impossible to imagine a world without computers and the internet. How many of them know the role that Ada played in making this possible?

To complete our four significant women, we chose Mary Seacole. This British-Jamaican nurse is famed for her pioneering spirit and helping countless wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Yet, Florence Nightingale’s achievements are often better-known. We wanted to ensure that Mary’s incredible story was also being told.

Why International Women’s Day matters to me

I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a company that teaches children and, ultimately, can play a part in changing harmful attitudes. Through our work, we build a stage where we can inspire, influence and ask children some very important questions. One of these is: how can we all make a ‘significant’ difference? While aspirational, we want the idea that even one person can have a positive impact on the world to never feel out of reach.

In the past, the achievements of men have often dominated our history books. Telling the stories of significant women gives young children the opportunity to meet more diverse role models than ever before. I’m raising two daughters, aged two and four. I want them to grow up in a world where they believe they can be anything they want to be. Already they have very strong minds (I think the word often used is ‘determined’) and I love that… most of the time!

Women who have inspired me recently

Education has no age limit. We’re always growing, always learning and never too old to be inspired! With that in mind, here are some women who have inspired me of late:

  • New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. For leading her country with strength, compassion and determination during a pandemic.
  • Denise Lewis OBE. As well as an incredible athlete and contributor to the world of sport, she recently rowed the length of Britain AND gave birth to her fourth child at the age of 46!
  • Lastly, one of my very good friends who (during the height of the pandemic) navigated her way through breast cancer while carrying a tiny person inside her. She is one of the strongest people I know and an absolute inspiration.

How about you? Who inspires you and who will you be celebrating on International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8th March? We’d love to know! Thank you.

“You will never know who stands with you if you don’t stand up first.” – Malala

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