Women Who've Inspired Change // Happy International Women's Day!
No day should go by without at least a subconscious appreciation for the significant contributions of different women across the globe.
This therefore makes it indispensable that we have a day specifically dedicated to women to ensure that the acknowledgement for the value of our struggles; endeavours and achievements over the years, does not go amiss. Considering Afronoire’s perpetual aim to promote the empowerment of women, it is essential that we celebrate and acknowledge the women who have influenced change and have contributed to our society.
A journalist and activist whose achievements in the British community include 1958's release of Britain's first printed newspaper focusing on the black community, encouraging talented black writers to contribute towards it. She also campaigned against the 1962 Immigration Act, which made it more difficult for non-white people to migrate to Britain. Perhaps her best known legacy is the annual Notting Hill Carnival, whose aim was to bring communities together.
Jamaican descendant Abbott, is a British labor party politician, who was the first black woman to be elected at the House of Commons. She was awarded 'Parliamentary Speech of the Year' in 2008 for her speech on civil liberties in the debate Counter-Terrorism Bill.
Helen Folasade Adu AKA Sade
Her soothing voice and lyrical ability are the winners of various awards since the 80's, including her six times nomination for 'Best British Female' Brit Awards and an OBE for her services to music, which she gracefully awarded to "all black women in England".
Queen Nzinga Mbande
An Angolan influential figure whose military wit worked against Portuguese oppression. Nzinga, whose name bears great significance to her powerful character, fought to liberate slaves, grant women the right to bear children and to maintain the right to national freedom.
A woman whose book I read at the tender age of 10 years and can still remember; a women who still passionately fights against FGM (female genital mutilation), of which she was victim very early in her childhood. Despite the pain granted by the violation of her rights, Dirie's inner strength worked to get her to London where she was scouted and eventually ended up having a successful career as a supermodel - a profession she abdicated to focus on her work against female circumcision, immediately being appointed as UN Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation.
Aside from her countless well deserved awards, Angelina Jolie is much admired for her humanitarian work, which has led her to be the first person to be awarded a 'Citizen of the World Award' by the United Nations Correspondents Association in 2003 and many others to date. She has been recognised for her tireless effort to tackle issues including sexual violence; displacement of refugees; education and health care for children with HIV and tuberculosis.
Let's forget to overlook the impact this beautiful fresh face and strong, humble spirit has had over the last few months. Her recent words on self-image, including her own struggle with accepting her colour and appearance reverberate a truth to many.
Essayist, novelist and a short story writer, Zadie Smith is an inspiration to all of us aspiring a successful path in the world of literature. Zadie has gone as far as gaining international praise for her work, starting with ‘White Teeth’, which became an immediate best seller after its publication.
Of course, this article is much too modest to do justice to both the women outlined and the unforgettable women who weren’t. However, the aim is to rekindle the pride we carry for being women; reinforce our striving for greatness in whatever we feel is a righteous pursuit across different domains in life. Perhaps this article could serve as a reminder that as we cross paths with seemingly ordinary women, their hopes and dreams could enable ours.