We’ve come a long way since the seeds for International Women’s Day were sown back in 1908.

The day was first celebrated officially in 1911, so this year we’re technically celebrating the 110th International Women’s Day.

There have been some great strides forward in terms of gender equality over those years – the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice president being a recent high point.

But at Nurture Media, we know that closer to home and out of the global spotlight, there are millions of women working hard to make a difference in the world.

We know this because we are lucky enough to have worked with some of them and we think their achievements, often in the face of huge adversity and tragedy, should not only be celebrated, but shouted from the rooftops.

Here are just five of those women whose focus, commitment and resilience has left us awestruck.

Suzy Evans

Suzy Evans

Suzy’s family was shattered when she lost her son Joel, brother Ade and dad Pat in the 2015 terror attack in Tunisia. Her younger son Owen survived the attack. Somehow she and Owen made their way through unimaginable grief and heartbreak and found the strength to set up the Smile For Joel charity in memory of Joel, Pat and Ade.

Suzy was determined to help support families who had also been the victim of traumatic bereavement. Thousands of families have now been helped with gifts and counselling and Suzy and Owen’s work has made a huge difference in their lives.

Through Smile For Joel, Suzy and Owen are also raising awareness to help people travel safely abroad and helping to promote and support the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent – doing whatever they can to make sure no-one else has to experience what they went through.

Karen Williams OBE

Karen Williams, founder of The Buddy Bag Foundation
Karen Williams

Karen was on a trip to Australia to visit her son when she came across an organisation helping child victims of domestic abuse. She was so moved that when she returned, she set up her own group, The Buddy Bag Foundation.

With Karen’s commitment, dedication and passion, the organisation has grown massively and thousands of children have now received a Buddy Bag – a back pack, filled with home comforts to offer support to children who find themselves in temporary accommodation after fleeing domestic violence at home.

In 2017 Karen was given a Points of Light award by then prime minister Theresa May, and in 2018 she was a finalist in Lorraine Kelly’s Woman of the Year contest. This year she was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours.

 

Victoria Hanson 

Victoria Hanson

Victoria and her team in the Hampers for Heroes CIC have reached more than 40,000 key workers with treats and essential items. 

Her hard work and dedication to helping well-wishers find a tangible way of thanking exhausted ICU, other hard-pressed NHS staff, brilliant teachers and carers, has been remarkable. 

A committed and thriving volunteer community, including NHS staff, have embraced the initiative in a massive community effort. Now Victoria  is putting plans into action for a pop-up shop and tailored well-being programmes. Thank you Victoria for showing us how kindness can be transformed into such wonderful results – right now. 

 

Natasha Williams

Natasha Williams

Natasha had a difficult childhood and found herself homeless as a teenager. Hardship continued through her adult life, but even with five children to care for, she worked hard to put herself through university, achieving a master’s degree and a PhD. Now, at the age of 45, she runs her own successful property business, Shape Surveyors.

Her tenacity, resilience and focus has helped her achieve her dreams and the life she wanted.

Jane Chappell

Jane Chappell. Photo by Carol Bailey

Jane pursued her dreams and passions, working her way up through the traditionally male-dominated field of cyber security to become one of the UK’s leading experts in the sector.

She enjoyed a successful career in the Forces and became the first woman to lead a cyber unit in the British Army. Later, she co-founded Arcanum Cyber Security, a nationwide consultancy, and her work has helped the MoD, NATO and the European Commission. She is now sharing her experience on the hope of inspiring a new generation of women to join her in the cyber sector.

All of these women have overcome barriers, or intense personal tragedy and adversity to make the world a better place and to make their dreams and others’, come true. Where some of us might have taken the easy option, or given up entirely, they have ploughed on, determined to succeed.

Inspirational is an over-used word, but we think it is a fitting description for all of them. We are privileged to have been able to help tell their stories.