International Women’s Day – Who inspires you?

Well, I’m a day late to the party, but I do think International Women’s day is one worth celebrating and remembering, so here are a few of my random thoughts on the subject…

Did you know that 50% of the world’s food is grown by women, yet they only receive 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the world’s property and land?

Back in 2011, I was inspired by a rather fab powerpoint presentation on women’s achievements that marked the 100th anniversary of international women’s day.

One of my favourite stories from that day was this one:

“The first public toilets in the UK were built in Victorian times, around 1850 – but were exclusively for men. There was a general feeling at the time that having public toilets for women were indecent! So along comes our hero – the socialist writer George Bernard Shaw. He campaigned for facilities for women as well as men, and was responsible for the building of the first ladies’ conveniences in the country in Parkway, Camden Town. When they were opened in 1905, local men demonstrated, as they did not believe women should have such a facility. They were regarded “as a feature so gross as to contaminate the value of all property in the neighbourhood”. Today the toilets are still open between 8am and 7pm, seven days a week. Thank-you Mr Shaw.”

Buoyed by that inspiration, I asked my friends and family to write in and tell me about the women who inspired them throughout history, and then shared them on this very blog!

I have also previously waxed lyrical on The Gender Gap, including some interesting statistics on women and their contribution to society.

So, after seeing lots of fantastic posts on facebook relating to IWD (and I am so glad to see that it’s gaining momentum in the public consciousness) this is an open question to you, my dear readers.

Which woman/women has inspired you the most and why?

What IWD posts or events caught your eye this year or made you think?

Post your responses in the comments below!


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Working 9 to 5 (well, more like 24-7)

Oh dear me – I drafted this post long ago, and then got pretty busy at work and never posted it! Time to get back on the horse and get writing a few more – LOTS to say, so here’s this one from weeks ago…


So, on to a bit more about what I’m doing out here when I’m not posing in front of mountains or being called Wayne Rooney by the Peshmerga (no, I have not gotten over it and I don’t expect I’ll stop being offended for quite some time).

After arriving in Kurdistan, I moved south to visit some villages and IDP camps along the southern border areas between KRI and Iraq. The battle with ISIS is still very recent and in some places still happening not too far away, so rest assured we are following security procedures as best we can.

On a visit to a particular town we were shown around the site of a car bomb which exploded less than 2 months ago outside the Government buildings in the centre of town. This area is now heavily guarded and there are several checkpoints, blockades, and a general decor of concrete blast protectors and razor-wire. It creates quite the sense of war-time ambience.

I was actually shocked at the extent of the damage. I mean, a car bomb doesn’t sound great, but I’ve always assumed the radius of destruction would be relatively small. I was wrong. I guess it depends on just how much explosive you have in your car at the time too. Anyway this particular carbomb took out an entire building, parts of the neighbouring buildings, as well as an entire building across the street.

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