I’m too late for International Women’s Day, but I thought that this exercise was worth doing regardless, since every day should be a day for celebrating female talents and achievements, too often overlooked.
I’ll start with the most important woman in my life, my mother. Those teenage years of misunderstandings and pushing back against the parental unit didn’t ever diminish my admiration of her. I was always proud that Mum was such a strong person. I loved, and tried to emulate, her refusal to conform to the expected feminine norms, her fierce intelligence, her humour.
You know how, when you are a small child, you think your parents are perfect and heroic, then gradually you learn that they are flawed and make mistakes? Well, when I got older and saw the flaws, that didn’t change my fundamental opinion a great deal. My Mum was, and still is, clever, resourceful, artistic and skilful (even when she doesn’t see it).
Now onto a brief list to highlight some less personally important but influential and inspiring ladies. If you’ve never heard of them, look them up!
As an (ex)archaeologist, I’m pretty annoyed that this lady never came up when I was studying the Anglo Saxons. Though to be fair, my Professor at Durham, Rosemary Cramp, was a leading light in the field. Just not the pioneer Ms Layard was.
Ursula K Le Guin
I could have a longer celebrity list, obviously – but I’d really rather give a shout out to some real-life women who are awesome in so many different ways. A special mention therefore goes to June, Rachel (aka Meggy) and Tracey for dealing with the shit life has thrown at them with a fierce defiance I couldn’t muster if I was in their place. To my dead – my lovely, tiny, feisty Gran; my best friend Rachel, who thought so little of herself but was strong in ways she never saw; to my warmhearted, loving cousin, Michelle, who never stinted in her generosity and who’s zest for life was inspiring.