“Why do you women have a day for yourselves?” “If we are living in an equal society why do you need it?”
These are just two of the many comments I hear from both men and women every time 8th March rolls around.
Did you know according to The Women’s Equality Party, forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act, for every hour they work, women still earn just 81p of every pound earned by men?
Did you know that on the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women only represented:
- 8% of directors
- 10% of writers
- 2% of cinematographers
- 24% of producers
- 14% of editors?
Even more shocking, 97% of programs had no women directors of photography, 85% had no women directors, 75% had no women editors, 74% had no women creators, 67% had no women writers, 23% had no women producers, 20% had no women executive producers. (www.womenandhollywood.com)
Don’t get me started on the percentage of women in Parliament and Executive roles. I think it is fair to acknowledge that whilst there has been some progression in gender inequality, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of bridging that gap of inequality. If we are not present or active in major decisions that effect this world or even how society sees women creatively such as in Advertising, TV, Film and Marketing, then, we have no say in how we shape this world and the perception of women thus, we still live very much in a “man’s world.”
International Women’s Day, is not about Global Domination (tee hee) it is about recognising the achievements and efforts made by great women before us who paved the way to bridging that gap and reclaiming our voice and position in society. It is about acknowledging their journey and also taking a moment to appreciate the path that they paved and using that to inspire our own paths and ignite our own Power.
Long gone are the days where women had to protect their identity and adopt male pen names or pseudonyms to be taken seriously in the publishing world. Today, we use our own names loud and proud. Conscious Dreams Publishing is so proud to have worked with so many incredible women with powerful and inspiring stories and are honoured to give them a platform to have their voices and stories shared and heard.
In saying this, here are my Top Five Inspiring Female Authors
Dr. Maya Angelou
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of us”– Dr Maya Angelou
This is one of my favourite Maya Angelou quotes and one I frequently use in my talks. The late, great Dr Maya Angelou is one of my all time heroines. She, above anyone, knows the agony bearing an untold story inside creates. She became a selective mute for five years having endured trauma that would have broken many. I first heard of her after reading her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at age 12. I will always remember the connection I felt as I read her experience of growing up in the Deep South, Akansas a city, sweltering in the heat of oppression and racism. It was reading this book that I first learnt of rape, lynchings, racist oppression and Civil Rights. She taught me that no matter what we go through in life, we ALL have the potential to gather our Strength and resilience and become greater than that which we experience. Upon reading I Rise, I admired her unapologetic defiance and pride and love for Self and since then, I read every single book she wrote from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to A Song Flung Up From Heaven. Dr Maya Angelou, I salute you!
“Despite everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart”~ Anne Frank
These are just some of Anne Frank’s powerful words. Anne Frank is, to me, an absolute miracle. At such a tender young age, not only did she possess the wisdom of an Old Soul but a pure and innocent heart.
Born Annelise Marie Frank in Germany 1929, Jewish born, Anne Frank moved to Amsterdam aged 4 1/2. In 1940 during the Nazi Occupation, she lost her citizenship, became stateless and found herself trapped in Amsterdam unable to escape from the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1942, she, along with here family, went into hiding behind her father’s bookcase for two years. Here, she found her dairy given to her as a a birthday present and recorded her experiences, thoughts and feelings during this time in her life. Anne Frank and her family were arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and she and her sister were transported to Bergen-Belsen then Auschwitz concentration camp where they died 2 months later. Her diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, remains her legacy.
She understood the importance of gratitude when she wrote “dead people receive more flowers than living because regret is stronger than gratitude” and despite her awful circumstances believed in the beauty of this world “Look at all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” To still believe beauty still remains and that people are inherently good at heart is both inspiring and powerful beyond measure. Anne Frank, I salute you.
“One child, one teacher, one book can change the world.” ~Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a force to be reckoned with. She is testament to the fact that we should never confuse age with courage. Born July 1997, Malala is a Pakistani Human Rights Activist and well known for advocacy for the education of women.
Born in Mingora, Khyber, Pakhtunkhwa, her family ran a chain of schools in the region and she was inspired by her father, Ziauddin’s humanitarian work. He promised Malala that she too would go to school and have access to education and treated equally in his home.
Growing up in Swat Valley, often called the “Switzerland of Asia,” Malala shares Ziauddin’s love of learning. She spends her childhood playing outside and exploring new worlds in books. However, in 2007, Taliban militants take control of Swat. They ban many things — like owning a television and playing music — and enforce harsh punishments, including public executions, for citizens who defy their orders. In December of 2008, the Taliban issues an edict banning girls from going to school. (www.malala.com)
In 2009, she began writing a blog for BBC Urdu about her experiences living under the Taliban regime and feelings about her school closing down. she writes under the pseudonym Gul Makai to prevent the Taliban from discovering that she, a girl, is the author behind the blog and to protect her identity. After reading Malala’s blog for the BBC, The New York Times features Malala and Ziauddin in a short documentary about their life and fight to protect girls’ education in Swat.
However, the critical acclaim put her life in danger and she was later shot by a masked Taliban gunman who asked for her by name before shooting her in the neck, shoulder and head. Despite this, she survives and despite fear of retaliation she speaks out against injustice and publicly campaigns for girls to go to school. July 12th, 2012, was the day she first speak out publicly after her attack in Nov 2012, and this is now called “Malala Day”. In 2014, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition for her phenomenal work in campaigning against inequality and setting up schools for women affected by gender inequality and poverty all over the world! Malala Yousafzai, I salute you.
Today, I ask you who inspires you and why and how will you inspire others?