First of all, Happy International Women’s Day to all self identifying women. I love this day because I adore seeing the support plastered all over social media. I’m proud to be a woman every single day. But today, seeing how much everyone else is proud to be a woman and how much we want to lift each other up makes my heart do a little dance. We’re so great, aren’t we?
Although we have still have some way to go in terms of equality, I’m lucky enough to be brought up with such strong and powerful women both in the media and in my life. I am empowered and inspired everyday by women but when it comes to women closer to home, there ain’t nobody stronger than my Mother and Nan.
I’ve grown up around very strong and outspoken women. My entire family won’t take no shit from anybody and I’ve not only admired it, I’ve also adopted that trait as time has gone on. We all have strong, and often opposing, opinions and, rightly so, we express them. I’ve never known my Mum, my Nan or any other women in my family to just roll over and let something happen that they don’t agree with. This is why we have voices – so we can stand up for ourselves and stand up for what we know is right.
Here are some life lessons I’ve learned from my Mum and my Nan over the years:
1. Don’t let a man think he can tell you what to do – I hear this from my Nan who would shoot anybody, man or woman, down with her words if they tell her to do something she’s not happy with. And go her! My Nan has worked hard her entire life and always made a name for herself. She’s outspoken and fierce and you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her. No one should have to earn the right to live as they please or have freedom of speech – but she’s made sure she’s got all of those regardless. In terms of my Mother, the most adored-by-everyone-she-meets person I’ve ever met, she shows me every single day that no one is more important than anyone else. In our house, much to my stubborn dismay sometimes, she’s always diplomatic and plays fair.
2. Work hard because no one is going to work hard for you. My Mum and Nan have worked hard their entire lives. Not only have they always made sure they’re in work (which, I know, is not always an easy situation for everyone), they have provided the best possible childhood for their kids. From stories I’ve been told, my Mum grew up with the best birthdays and Christmases. Similarly with my Mum, we’re solidly and proudly working class but my Mum continues to make sure I am royalty on my birthday. Both women have always excelled in their jobs whether they were taking care of the elderly or bossing their way to Jo Malone Management. Work hard and be proud of yourself.
3. Speak up for yourself – as I stated, this is a strong and admirable trait all the women in my family have. I’d say my Mum and my Aunty learned that from my Nan, and I learnt that from my Mum. If you’re not happy about something or you think someone is taking you for a ride, tell them. Don’t take it.
I hope every person who identifies as a woman has someone round them that lifts them up and reminds them that they are special and worthy. I’m lucky to have a huge army of powerful female friends and family members that make sure that I know I deserve a good life.