It’s International Women’s Day – a day to honour and celebrate the cultural, social, economic and political achievements of women.
It is also a day to remember and celebrate exactly why women are so fabulous.
Clearly, throughout history, the female population has been horrifically oppressed, abused and mistrusted. Women have been burned at the stake for being “witches”, shot for trying to go to school, had their feet crushed and bound, their genitals mutilated. They have been kidnapped and trafficked, they have been denied education, voting rights, property ownership, a driver’s license, equal pay, promotions...
Society has both consciously and subconsciously, pigeonholed women so that even the most loving and important relationships in their lives can potentially hold them back. As the feminist Caitlin Moran says, “All too often, women end up marrying their glass ceilings.”
Today is not about letting the legacy of the past hold back our daughters of tomorrow.
It is to celebrate the fact that women are inspiring, because they never give up.
Women did not give up until they won the right to vote or the right to attend school. Women haven’t stopped contributing to two-thirds of the world’s unpaid labour. (Though we loved the landmark case last week about a man that had to pay his wife for housework in China https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-56178510). Women haven’t stopped giving birth to the world’s next generation. Women haven’t stopped advocating for equality, freedom, opportunity and dignity.
We also need to talk about the fact the fashion industry is inherently sexist too. When you consider the fashion graduates are generally 80-95% female but their are only around 15% of major brands run by a female executive. it is clear there is a real problem. If you look at the fashion supply chain there is a real gender imbalance.
Approximately 190 million women work in global supply chains. 80 percent of garment workers are female. These jobs promise economic independence and the hope of a better future for them and their children. However the reality for millions of women workers is excessive hours often in difficult and unsafe working conditions, and wages that are not enough to make ends meet.
The power imbalance between often male supervisors/managers and a predominantly female workforce, compounded by what society accepts as ‘appropriate’ work for women, means they end up working in the lowest paid and most insecure jobs.
Women are also more vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence, with limited bargaining power and union representation.
Furthermore, people who identify as other genders, including LGBTQI+ workers, can also find it challenging to secure employment, with their rights and needs not covered by national legal frameworks or workplace policies.
So when you are buying that 't-shirt' with a pro-feminism message or liking that post from a major fashion brand - we need to question the authencity of the statements. Greenwashing feminism to sell a t-shirt that was made by women in poor working conditions, who were not paid enough to properly financially care for their families, which we signed off by male executives who were trying to 'adopt' the trend to sell a t-shirts seems like the ultimate form of irony.
But, women have proven time and time again that they can achieve great things when people invest in them.
It has been found that women are better entrepreneurs. Studies have demonstrated that in the entrepreneurial world, women are more likely to make better financial decisions than their male counterparts, and are more likely to invest in their communities.
Women are also better at looking after the planet. Research has shown that there is an eco-gender gap, as women are more likely to be green than men. In the past this gap has been attributed to personality differences. Research from the mid-90s to early 00s pointed to a women’s greater tendency to be prosocial, altruistic and empathetic, to display a stronger ethic of care and to assume a future-focused perspective. Women are considered to have higher levels of socialisation, care for others and to be socially responsible - which then leads them to care more about environmental problems and be willing to adopt environmental behaviours.
Ultimately, women have NEVER quit changing our world for the better.
It is important to note that women are not perfect, and we do make mistakes. Like men women should be allowed the chance to learn from those mistakes. This week, I was reminded of the fabulous Caitlin Moran words on this matter: -
“A woman who has made mistakes but is still given the chance to carry on - to learn in public, to correct herself, and to still proceed, without having been psychologically battered, and cancelled in the process will have far, far more useful things to bring to society than the current informal system we have: that the majority of women who still have a public platform are the ones who just haven't made a mistake yet.”
― Caitlin Moran, More Than a Woman
The rest of the world, for its survival, needs to treat women like the beautiful, capable, intelligent, valuable and inspirational goddesses that they are. They should invest in women spiritually, emotionally, academically and financially. We need to give little girls around the world the one thing they need most to succeed in life: a chance.
The team at Beira have been thinking of the inspirational women that they have in their life.
Co-Founder Dr Antoinette Fionda-Douglas Inspirational Women – Friends Melissa, Caroline, Marie Claire, Jane, her mum Ida and sister Lidia.
Co-founder Antoinette – “I found it hard to choose one. So, these are six women who are always there for me and inspire me daily. My mum, Ida, moved to Scotland at age 8 without her parents, to live with her lovely older sister mainly to get a better education. My sister Lidia always makes me laugh and is the first person I call for advice or for a moan. My wonderful friends Melissa, Caroline and Marie Claire, are like family – they are some of my favourite people in the world to party with. Last but not least, my friend Jane. She moved to Australia for new adventures and during lockdown she managed to deal with three kids, cope with a job as a very busy GP but also become an accredited Lifestyle Medicine Physician. Incredible!
To be honest there are so many more, I could go on forever as I am lucky to have so many fabulous women in my life.”
Co-Founder Flavio's Inspirational Women - Wife Drida, Mum Louisa and daughter Georgia.
I’ve been inspired by Drida of course, for her sense of family, for how strong she can love, for her loyalty and for her great support on all our life.
In her eyes I saw the purity of her soul and her way to love people.
My mum for her capacity to work hard and be a help for everyone
My daughter Giorgia, so strong and determined, no fear for challenge and so positive!
Freya's Inspirational Women - Cousin Emma, friends Kate, Megan, Hannah, Jenni and Sarah, and mum Linda.
Freya - “I too found it incredibly difficult to just pick one woman that inspires me. I have so many amazing female role models in my life, and I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such strong, inspiring individuals. Firstly, I have selected my cousin Emma. Emma works INCREDIBLY hard at her job as the Global Head of HR, RBC Investor and Treasury Services for the Royal Bank Canada, whilst being mother to my little cousin Ruairi. Before Ruairi came along, she was out of the house for 6am and wouldn't get home until 7pm. Now, she has Ruairi to take care of too. It never stops. Emma is so successful in all that she does, and she is the reason I decided to study HR at university; I wanted to be like her. Secondly, I chose my friend Kate. Throughout the whole of school, Kate would be up and at the swimming pool for 5am. She would then complete her training, head to school, go back home to do homework, and then would be on the running track. She never stopped! Still to this day I have no idea how she managed to keep going. Kate is also studying primary teaching at university, which is truly amazing. She also lost her dad recently, yet she has managed to stay strong and keep up with her studies. I am so proud of her and it is a privilege to call her my friend. I also selected my mum as one of my inspirational women. My mum has been struggling for 9 years now with an illness that even the doctors can’t figure out. Yet, she is still the most supportive and caring mother ever. She still gets out of bed in the morning, puts on a smile and tackles the day. She has always taught me to be strong and that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without the influence of my mum. She is my best friend. Last but certainly not least, my university girls. These 4 girls are the reason that I have stuck with my course and have been successful thus far. Without the support network that we have with each other, I would definitely struggle. I went through school with some rocky friendships, but I finally feel like I have settled and made friends for life. We have so much fun together and they are all such strong individuals. We are waiting to find out where in Spain we are doing our year abroad next year, and we have all of our fingers crossed that we will be living it up together in Madrid. Together we are a force to be reckoned with.”
Here at Beira, we already have been celebrating some amazing Goddesses with the introduction of our “Inspirational Women Series”. It is wonderful to applaud women weekly (not just once a year). But we want to extend that love to all of you. We want you to have a chance to celebrate the women who inspire you.
This giveaway competition is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram.
The campaign will run from 8th March 8.30pm (UK time) until 22nd March 8.30 pm UK time.
Winner name will be randomly selected.
The winning entry must have followed the account, liked the post and tagged one inspirational woman in their life.
If more than one inspirational female is tagged in the post then the first tagged name will be awarded the prize.
The winner will be announced on Instagram on the 23rd March at 8.30pm.
The winner will be allowed to select one sweatshirt - from style, colour and size options.
- The prize cannot be exchanged for any other items. No cash alternative will be offered.
The winner will be announced in a winners post and direct messaged via Instagram so Beira can arrange free UK delivery of their fabulous sweatshirt.
Any delivery outside of the UK may be subject to an additional delivery charge.