I’m sure you’ll all have spotted that International Women’s Day is this Friday, a day for shouting loud about all the amazing, inspiring women out there in the world. Last year I wrote a blog on those individuals that inspired me, from the Barras Queen herself Maggie McIver, to our fantastic designers and suppliers, and my family. You can have a read here - International Women’s Day 2018.
This year's theme is Balance for Better - which is about building a gender-balanced world - and we totally agree that everyone has a part to play.
As most of you will know Braw Wee is a Women-led business and we now have an exclusively female team – not because we designed it to be this way, but because they are all braw individuals that absolutely get behind what we are aiming to do and achieve here.
As a small business, I think we have a real opportunity to look at how we work and support individuals to play their part in society - by helping them grow their businesses, providing them with a space to belong, providing them with a voice and supporting them to make the changes they need. I 100% believe that creativity is an important tool that can support building a gender-balanced world.
So as a way of introducing the team and celebrate the day I asked Siobhain, Jasmine and Molly what International Women’s Day means to them and which women are their inspirations.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate how incredible women are, but also is an opportunity to examine the struggles that women all over the world face. Celebrating women should go hand in hand with activism and trying to improve the lives of all women.
My mum and grandma are my biggest inspirations, they’re both such strong women who have taught me so much about standing up for myself and being compassionate to others.
As a kid, Lucy Liu’s character in Charlie’s Angels was my biggest inspiration; not only can she do martial arts but she’s also a tech wizard! Emmy the Great was also really important to me as a mixed-race teenager, I didn’t really know anyone else who looked like me, especially in the genre of music I was into.
We should see every day as International Women’s Day! I think that we should always be celebrating the women we love, and addressing the fact that we should work collectively as a planet to address the often shrugged-off issues surrounding being a woman on planet Earth.
My mum and my amazing group of friends are the superwomen who inspire me to keep looking forward and have taught me the art of inner strength. They are incredibly funny and brilliant women who I’m lucky to have in my life.
I have a serious amount of respect for Florence Welch and Lady Gaga and their persistence in pursuit of their careers in the arts. I also am a huge fan of Marina Abramovic and her powerful feminist performance art.
For me, International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the strength, resilience and achievements of women everywhere, as well as a chance to campaign for and consider the women who are still fighting for their freedom and agency across the globe. It is also a day to celebrate all the gender non-conforming people and our non-binary and trans communities that are contributing to destroying the gender binary, be it through activism or simply existing.
The women who inspire me are the extraordinary, ordinary women who survive the every day despite being in abusive or unhealthy relationships, having kids, working three jobs for the same amount of money a man earns for one, and other circumstances that make life a battlefield. My mum and the other women in my family are my inspirations, and if I had to choose a famous female icon it would be the late Poly Styrene, the incredible frontwoman of 70s punk band X-Ray Spex, a woman of colour who did not conform to typical conventions of “beauty” and refused to be silent.
For me, International Women's Day is not just about celebrating the amazing things that women do in this world - it is an opportunity for us to stop, reflect and think about how do we continue to strive for equality and recognition.
The women who have and continue to inspire me (above those mentioned in last year's blog) are Vivienne Westwood and Pam Hogg (fashion designers) and their use of their creative talent to highlight political and human causes - I love their fearlessness. Madonna was a massive influence on me when I was young, she was absolutely her own person and was always trying out new things, a risk taker (I've still got my True Blue Cassette Tape).
In writing this blog, I was thinking about all the women that had lifted me up over the years - gave me the support and introduced me to things I had no idea about - there are so many. One kept coming back into my mind as she influenced me in lots of different ways. Gordeanna McCulloch an amazing Scots Singer from Rutherglen, who then sadly passed away earlier this week. She introduced me to Scots Song & language; the amazing stories that are within these songs - which really sparked my interest in people and stories; the joy of singing even though you struggle to hold the tune; that being a strong, feisty woman was something to aspire to and most importantly to have confidence in myself. Gordeanna was also about "Better Balance" in a music scene which when she was just getting started in the 1960s it was a very male-dominated scene.