It’s no secret that we are a little bit excited today, as it’s none other than International Women’s Day! We are fierce advocates for celebrating women EVERY day, but isn’t it nice to have a day dedicated to it? Here at Chapter W, we have asked some of our pals who they are inspired by, so have a read + feel amazing!
‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise’
When we marched in January, we felt a unity like no other. A connection between thousands and thousands of people that screamed for justice, integrity, dignity, and the freedom to equal rights. To not be portrayed as merely ‘pussies’, to stop being told that ‘being a girl’ is a pejorative term, and to be equally recognised in the working and financial world with our male peers. Men and women stood up for the rights of females everywhere, proving that those of us who identify as having XX chromosomes are more than boobs, bums, and a mouth.
International Women’s Day seems more timely, more poignant and needed more than ever this year. In a world seemingly falling a part, it’s important to remember the women who inspire us every day to be better, do better, and make better decisions than the generations before us that may have failed to do so. Here at Chapter W, we asked a few of our friends and peers about the women they look up to, and why. Enjoy…
Louisa Davies – Chapter W Co Founder + Brace Face
I am so lucky to surround myself with inspiring women every single day. From my mum, who has always worked so hard and also been a great role model in the sense I DEFINITELY take no nonsense, and have always thought it was completely normal for the woman to go to work all the time and bring home the bacon. I also work in an office of intelligent, hilarious and ambitious women who get the damn job done every single day, no matter how hard it might be sometimes. My MD Louise Lloyd started Popcorn PR up from scratch, and to see her determination + willingness to get down on the ground with us is something unparalleled to anything I’ve ever seen in the world of PR. (DISCLAIMER: Louise did not ask me to put that in, and I am not angling for a promotion/payrise.)
My friends are also ridiculously inspiring, hunniz faced with all sorts of battles, whether it’s career, family, or mental health related, they always strive to keep going with a smile, and get through whatever shit they’re facing that day. I feel proud to be able to call so many successful women my friends.
In terms of women in the public eye, I would say that a big inspiration for me is Anna Wintour. She may come across as cold, calculating and callous, but to me I think she’s just a woman who slays at her job. She transformed Vogue America to the institution it is today, and she just seems to get. it. If she was a man, no one would bat an eyelid. But she is always the most powerful woman in any room, and I kind of like that I get the shivers when I see her. There’s a thousand other women who get me inspired, but that’s all for today.
Katherine Chambers – Chapter W Co Founder + Owner of Best Hair in the World
I find it hard to pinpoint just one woman that inspires me, because in reality I’m inspired by women everyday.
From those I follow on social media, to those I’ve chosen to surround myself with, there are so many strong, beautiful, kind, driven and inspiring women in my little bubble of a universe that I’m really quite spoilt for choice.
My mum, is one. She’s an inspiration to me as she’s simply the most selfless person I know. Emily, one of my best friends, raised a daughter as a single mother when she was only a teenager herself, and still managed to finish her education and pursue a career, completely breaking the stereotype. Louisa, my Chapter W co-founder inspires me to be a little bolder every day and my grandma, who is now in her 90s, has shown me there’s always something to smile about.
Bridget Minamore – Bad Ass Writer
I admire a lot of women in my life – my Mum, my Aunts, my friends, and my amazing grandmother who passed away a couple of years ago, at 97. They all have taught me that womanhood is also about sisterhood in some way, about what it means to support and struggle and keep yourself upright when you can.
But I also really admire writers like Malorie Blackman and Zadie Smith, mostly for their visibility – they were the first two black female writers I saw when I was about 10 years old, and I am still so grateful they were there to show me that I could write, too.
Emma Gannon – Writer/Podcast Queen + general ‘killing the game’ woman
My big sister, Sarah inspires me so much every day. She has two kids, runs her own successful business out of her spare room and she is the social magnet of our family. She has always got people coming round, organising birthday parties, cooking for everyone, pouring the drinks.
She is my role model because she is her own boss and yet makes so much time for her family and her friends. She’s someone I believe has her priorities straight which is something I’ve had wobbles with in the past.
Work can wait. Your loved ones can’t.
Simran Hans – Film enthusiast and again, another killer writer.
The list of women I admire is long (among them my mum, my sisters, my friends and fellow writers), but there are two I want to shout out here.
Laura Snapes and Fariha Roisin are two women who have taught me many things, both through their writing and through our friendships, in essays and emails, text messages and Skype calls, over beer. I’ve learned a lot about precision, integrity, work ethic, courage, compassion and generosity from them.
Emma Little – Events + Promotions for Benefit Cosmetics + positive, sunny lady
If I’m being totally honest I’m inspired every single day by SO many women; the women that I work with, the women that fill my Instagram feeds and pages of the magazines and blogs I’m reading. It might just be the people I follow on social media/take an interest in at the moment or how lucky I am with who I surround myself with, but I feel an overwhelming sense of being united and feeling empowered as females at the moment. Everyone is rooting for each other rather than criticising each other, but maybe that could also be down to just growing up.
Beyond the obvious choices of incredible women I find inspirational, it comes to down to 3 ladies. Firstly my mum and my sister, totally cliche choices but they have the kindest hearts and always put others first. They prioritise happiness and encourage others to do so too and I think that’s a magnificent attribute. They’re the biggest cheer leaders and their values are utterly wonderful. It’s inspirational that no matter what life throws at them they still have the most positive outlook on everything and remain so driven.
Then there’s Chloe Giltrow-Shaw, one of my best friends in the world. Over two years ago her mum was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and Chloe packed up her life in London to move back home to be with her. When Paula sadly passed away, Chloe acted (and still to this day) like the strongest women in the world, I’ve never seen anything like it and doubt I’ll ever see anything close again.
Not only was she mourning the loss, within moments she got an incredible girl boss job (which I’m forever envious of and she gets promoted for every 2 seconds), undertook a masters degree (which she is about to finish and my heart is bursting with pride) and is now training for a marathon (super women?!). All of these things alone are inspirational, but together?! she just blows my mind. As if this isn’t enough she lights up any room she is in, makes everyone feel great and continues to be the best friend, girlfriend, sister and daughter and clearly employee and student too!! Whenever I’m stressed or sad or even just super happy, she’s who I turn to for a good old reality check and to keep myself aiming high. She could take over the world if she wanted to!
Maeve Higham – Female engineer paving the way for the future generations
Serena Williams is bad ass. She is the greatest sportsperson (not just woman) in the world. Aged 35 she has 23 grand slam titles, and she is still going, she is still at the top of her game. I remember watching her at Wimbledon each year as a small girl, so inspired and so alive. Serena taught me that women can be the best, they can be powerful and sexy and strong and beautiful, all at once. And perhaps most importantly she taught me that women can defy the odds, that they can and should play sport.
I wasn’t really aware who Sheryl Sandburg was until the later half of my University degree, and I didn’t read her book – Lean In – until one year in to my working life. (If you don’t know, get googling!!) The way her Lean In movement has connected women around the world, provided women the opportunity to increase their skill set and, both inspired and empowered women to sit up in their day to day lives is so inspirational. She has taught me how important it is to ‘Lean In’ and to encourage the women around me to do the same. I’m still learning and growing in my career, but I’m so grateful that her movement has touched my life.
Generic, I know. But, currently only 8% of the professional engineers in the UK are female, a figure that hasn’t improved in 30 years and remains the lowest percentage across countries in Europe. So to the women I work with everyday, to the women I have connected with as part of the Women’s Engineering Society, and to the women working across the world in male dominated professions – I salute you. Keep bringing your femininity to work, keep defying the statistics and keep working to decrease the gender gap.
Chloe Seager – Literary Agent + Next Big Author
Life in any workplace is often very busy, stressful and absorbing, and it’s easy to become wrapped up in small tasks, minor frustrations, and sometimes just getting through the day. It’s also easy to take for granted just how great the people sharing that environment with you actually are, and so I’d really like to take a moment to appreciate the three other women who make up Diane Banks Associates, where I’ve been employed for the past two years.
Diane started up the agency by herself, which requires levels of bravery and skill I can’t even imagine, and every day she works incredibly hard to keep growing it. Robyn is one of the smartest women I’ve ever met. She reads everything, knows everything, and articulates complicated and intelligent points so clearly and succinctly I often find myself saying, ‘Yes…that’s what I meant,’ after ten minutes of verbal flailing. She’s capable and confident and has achieved so much I always forget she’s only twenty-seven. Kate is a working mum. She’s often lived an entire day before I manage to roll out of bed, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard her complain of being tired. On top of this, she’s brilliant at her job and always knows exactly what to do to transform a manuscript with potential into something magic. I’ve learned something really valuable from each of these women, and am really grateful to be working alongside them.
Who inspires you? We’d love to hear from you, tweet us at @ChapterW__
Compiled by Louisa Davies