Today is International Women’s Day 2022. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias – a collective movement to create a gender-equal world.
Unfortunately, as we read in Natalie’s Insight last week, finance is still one of those areas with a lot of room for improvement.
Today, I wanted to join in with the celebration of women’s achievements through history by offering many of the amazing women within our team and our Island Influencers the opportunity to contribute to this landmark Insight.
I asked them – Which Woman Inspires You Most And Why?
Sometimes it is hard to pick one, but there are no rules in this piece of writing! I agree wholeheartedly with my colleague Chartered Financial Planner, Natalie Bush.
“Any successful woman in a predominately male-dominated role can be inspiring, and their successes should be celebrated more than once a year. If I had a daughter, I’d certainly want her to look up to someone for their achievements rather than their style choices and Instagram following!!!”
That said, Natalie shared with me who are her top three inspiring women are:
“Marie Curie – the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win twice and the only person to win in two scientific fields (Physics & Chemistry).
My Favourite quote of hers is;
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that thing must be attained.
Our Lord of Mann – Queen Elizabeth II – Celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, still working at 95, always leading by example.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – At 87, she was still fighting for gender equality as a Supreme Court Justice.” Natalie highly recommends watching the film On the Basis of Sex to understand fully!
Island Influencer Laura McCoy, Curator of Natural History at Manx National Heritage, shared some lovely words about her chosen inspirational woman, her mother!
Although I have met, worked with and read about many inspiring women, on a day to day basis, the woman that inspires me most is my mother.
Some may view this as a little cliché and a little dull, considering the multitude of incredible women out there. But my mother is the person who encouraged engagement with the natural world, leading to my current profession. She showed me the strength of character as a single mother; she demonstrated adaptability and problem solving, living on a low income and moving house frequently—lastly, fortitude, dealing with her current cancer diagnosis with positivity and aplomb.
Having someone to look to who fills so many gaps in life’s lessons is a gift, and I count myself very lucky.
Up next is Island Influencer Stefanie Kerwin, Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and Homoeopath, she told me Kate Winslet inspires her.
She has created a vibe around women completely loving and accepting themselves. Most of my clinical experience talking to women is often focused on them not feeling enough and feeling bad about their bodies and not loving themselves and the subsequent stress this causes in their lives and its effect on their health. I always try to inspire and support my clients to love and accept themselves more.
Her favourite ‘Kate quotes’ are;
‘I am enough’ and ‘I feel very strongly that curves are natural, womanly, and real. I shall continue to hope that women can believe in themselves for who they are inside and not feel under such incredible pressure to be unnaturally thin.’
As I said, there are no rules in this piece of writing. So I applaud Island Influencer Sarah Gartland, Owner of Follan Natural Health Centre, who, to quote her, “went sideways with this question.”
I thought long and hard who does inspire me, and as awful as it sounds, nobody does! I strive to prove myself to myself.
I am the sort of person who always wants to achieve and help, either by fixing people or feeding them. I am a huge maternal figure. I want to be the best I can be, and I am so fortunate I have an amazing support network of both men and women around me who are all involved with and for help.
Everyone inspires me. From the stay at home mum’s, something I couldn’t do. To the single working and married working mums, to the politicians and doctors, everyone I feel is inspirational in their own lovely way and should be celebrated.
Co-founder of Lyph Lab, Island Influencer Haafizah Hoosen-Charles, told me that in our conversation on Island Influencers (episode 68), she loves Amal Clooney.
I find Amal Clooney incredibly inspirational. I think that she is just incredible at some of the stuff that she’s done….I just love her!
Island Influencer Dr Chloë Woolley, Manx Music Development Officer’s first instinct was to choose her Zumba/yoga teacher, Rachel “Dee Dee” Crellin!
My yoga and Zumba teacher and friend Rachel “Dee Dee” Crellin is a constant inspiration, and she looked after the wellbeing of many of her students throughout lockdown.
Although I regularly chatted with family and friends and was lucky enough to have my husband and kids around me, like most people, it was hard at times to feel motivated to exercise and take time to meditate. But via zoom from her one-bed flat in the Isle of Man, Rachel gave her “Shimmy Shala” yoga and Zumba classes almost daily.
Sometimes my son joined in with the dancing! We’d all have a chat and a good laugh afterwards, and it made us all feel like we were looking after each other at a very uncertain time (as well as keeping us fit!).
Thankfully, we’re back to real-life classes now, and Rachel continues to exude her positive vibes and sense of calm to many. Not only a talented Zumba and yoga teacher, but Rachel is also a hairdresser, a model, a burlesque dancer (hence her stage name, “Miss Dee Dee”!), and she is now training to be a mental health care worker, which I know she will be absolutely brilliant at! She has a beautiful, caring spirit and anyone who meets her can’t help but feel inspired.
Whilst preparing and writing this Insight, it’s been a privilege to have time to think about the many women who have inspired and motivated me throughout my life so far! And some of these women I am lucky enough to call friends.
However, in an attempt to keep to word count, I’ll keep it to just one woman Tina Weeks who is very special indeed.
I first met Tina at our PFS National Conference, 2011 the ICC in Birmingham when she was a speaker there; the topic; What is your number? She held up a book of the same name during her talk and recommended we all buy it.
On my way out, she asked; who wants this book? She gave it to me and having read it, that was a catalyst in my career for a significant change from Financial Adviser to Financial Planner.
We got to know each other gradually at various events over the years, and I admired the growth of her company Serenity Financial Planning from afar.
In late 2019 at another conference, she mentioned some health challenges she had started to experience, which she was putting down to menopause. Then Covid hit.
In lockdown 2020, I heard Tina had launched a new Life Coaching qualification, so I tuned in to one of the early online webinars. She spoke about the course she was running. I was shocked to see her appearance had changed so much (something she had been expecting from the audience as she is such a well known and influential figure in UK financial services).
She explained to all of us her facial changes were due to a rare skin condition (only one case in the UK – her) which caused the severe loss of elasticity and, worse, the simultaneous cancer condition which came with it.
She has faced additional challenges such as having treatment, including chemotherapy whilst running a financial planning practice, advising clients, and keeping it together for a family with two teenage children. That she also put on a new coaching qualification with a smile on her face is beyond words.
Tina is brave and beautiful inside and out, and she is the woman I admire most and am inspired by. I took her course and passed. She and it changed my life, and as a result, my family’s too.
Tina’s course is called ‘Know Thyself’, which is a quote by Socrates. She is herself Greek, and a quote I can attribute to her is this; Doing nothing feels better but makes it worse. Doing something feels worse but makes it better!
I hope this Insight inspires you today and every day!
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can break the bias in our communities.
We can break the bias in our workplaces.
We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities.
Together, we can all break the bias – on International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond.