Happy International Women’s Day everyone! Wherever you are, whoever you are (daughter, mother, sister, mother of daughters and father of daughters etc), today is not only a day to celebrate women and girls worldwide, it is a day to celebrate equality, fairness and humanity.
We’ve been on the planet for a long time and women have only recently been given the opportunities we so deserve. International Women’s Day was big and widely celebrated in China when I was growing up. One of my childhood memories was that my mum would have a day off on 8th March and feel very proud. Her mother was a hardworking uncomplaining homemaker all her life. Watching them live their lives was like holding a mirror up to the limitations that could easily have been mine. My mum has been a great supporter of me pursuing my dreams. And I am so grateful that I am living in a country which has such a long history of respecting and celebrating women.
To celebrate this year’s International Women’s day, I list the five women who inspire me the most; who I look up to and make me feel humbled; who remind me how incredibly lucky we are as women.
- Sara Blakely, mum of 4 and the inventor of SPANX. She is fearless, grateful, funny and so real. Just like her husband said on her birthday: “Wife, Mum, Daughter, Sister, Boss, Philanthropist. She wears so many hats…and wears ALL with love and class.” If you follow her on Instagram, you will know what I mean. My favourite quote of hers is “Be Scared and Do it Anyway!”.
- Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of United States. She is authentic and she is the girl from the South Side. She is the ultimate role model for all working mothers. As she mentioned in her book ‘Becoming’:” Motherhood became my motivator. It dictated my movements, my decisions, the rhythm of every day.” She struggled to keep her work and life balance. She was the default parent for looking after the children when they were little. She used to get up at 4:45am so that she could join a girlfriend for a 5am workout and then be home by 6:30am to get her girls up and ready for their days. This routine gives her back the calmness and strength, two things she feared she was losing. She is one of us!
- Ellen DeGeneres, the American comedian and the host of “the Ellen Show”. She is undeniably funny with a big heart full of love and acceptance. She speaks loudly about the fact she is a married lesbian. She contributes to this world by making people laugh, giving normal people generous surprises and building a campus in Rwanda to protect critically endangered mountain gorillas. She lifts my spirit up every time I see her.
- Mimi Thorisson, the half Chinese and half French food book author and mom of 8 (2 of them are step children). She created the famous food blog http://mimithorisson.com alongside her photographer husband. They live in Medoc, France with their children and countless dogs. The thing I admire about her and her husband is that they somehow manage to live their everyday like their last day – full of good food, good wine, children running around with dogs in a big French countryside house. My favourite quote of hers is that “I am not good at deadlines. I am happy just to stop whenever my children need me.” What a spontaneous way to live and she lives it beautifully and peacefully!
- Emma Watson, the Hermione Granger we know so well and the beauty from “the beauty and beast” later on. She is also a book lover who hides books in tube stations for fellow bookworms. Most importantly, she is one of the most famous campaigners for women’s rights. She is also one of the youngest members of the Gender Equality Council advising the G7 this year during the French Presidency. As a mother of 3 daughters, I feel so grateful that a public figure like Emma devotes so much time to giving women and girls’ rights the prominence that they should have!
Which women inspire you at this moment? Don’t forgot to inspire others women whenever you can as we are all sisters living on the mother earth.