Samantha Montague

8th March 2019

It’s International Women’s Day and to celebrate, we put together a list of all the incredible women who have inspired us throughout our lives. Take a look!


Jess Phillips – MP for Birmingham Yardley unashamedly shouts for what she believes in, never shies away from calling out injustices, and the epitome of liberal progressive politics.  She is a fierce activist of women’s rights and a champion for those whose voices aren’t heard by the powers that be. Everyone should be a little more like Jess Phillips.


Ariana Grande – One of my favourite women has to be Ariana Grande. She has so much talent, does a lot of charitable work and is a vegan advocate! She’s also been really resilient and positive despite coming up against some awful situations – the Manchester attack, the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and being constantly criticised for being a diva (yet if a man was to act in the same way, he’d probably just be called a shrewd businessman). She really inspires me to work hard to succeed and to stay strong in the face of adversity.


Rosario Barlow – My mum. She moved to the other side of the world and raised a family of 7 children whilst working nights as a nurse and taking care of her elderly in laws. She and my dad were inseparable until the day he died. She basically taught me about love.


Kylie Jenner – My FAVOURITE woman is Kylie Jenner as she is a 21st century self-made woman. She has built a $900 million fortune in less than four years and is on track to become the youngest ever female self-made billionaire. She is career goals


Her mum – International Women’s Day has always been a big deal back home. Admittedly, rather than focusing on inspirational historical female figures (always a complicated concept under the Communist regime), the day was aimed to appreciate women in your life, the mums and grandmas, aunties etc. To do something nice for them and celebrate their small-scale (perhaps everyday) achievements. Way before Valentine’s day became part of the European culture, this was the day every woman would get flowers and a card and was to be celebrated and taken care of. I think this idea of International Women’s Day being small-scale has stuck with me in some way and so when I think of a strong female figure that inspired me, I automatically think of my mum (most people probably do…). Every time I think I’m having a difficult time I remember that my mum spent her childhood and teenage years under a communist regime, where wearing nail polish at final exams meant you would pass and eyeliner to school meant being sent home and your parents getting a call about how ‘difficult’ their child was. And Yet, she doesn’t grumble. I may have been born into a free country, but having a kid right after the Velvet Revolution meant having a pre-democracy income but everything suddenly being 10 times more expensive. But everyone managed. Because they had to. Whatever personal, medical or family issues our little family unit was experiencing, my mum always made sure I got the best I could, no matter whom or what she had to fight. Looking back, I’m sure she had better things to do than listen to me complain about people at school (and she was right, they weren’t worth the time or the energy. Why are mums always right?), she most likely wanted the last slice of the cake she made and I’m certain she hated whatever music I was playing on repeat. But she never said anything, she made sure she was my friend.

Milada Horakova – I started to think if I were to pick a historical figure, who would that be. There are of course MILLIONS of women who are inspirational, brave, courageous and far more intelligent than I am. But for some odd reason, I couldn’t pick just one. Until I saw the film ‘Milada’ recently. The story and life of Milada Horakova is as inspirational as it is heart breaking. She embodies the history of the Czech Republic. She tried to worn Britain and France that the Third Reich will not stop just because of the Czechoslovakian borders becoming a part of it. She was imprisoned in a concentration camp because people suspected her to be involved with the resistance, without a proof. She and her husband both managed to survive and fought for freedom they felt the people deserved. She was a very strong advocate for social justice and prominent campaigner for the equal status of women. Unfortunately, February 1948 and the Communist coup changed her destiny more than she could have foreseen. She would not join the Communist party, she saw them for the same enemies as Nazi’s were, just in a different uniform. She helped many people and families escape, lending them money and any help she could. Yet, she was adamant she won’t leave, because she cannot be happy if she knows people in her own country are not free. She was arrested in 1949 because she was suspected to be a leader in an alleged plot to overthrow the regime? Was there a proof of this? Of course not, but then again, this was Orwell’s 1984 being reality. I don’t even want to imagine what she faced in prison, but she would not succumb. When she faced her trial, she would not repeat the same speech everyone was taught the night before. This unfortunately meant she was sentence to death in 1950. Einstein, Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt were amongst many of those who petitioned for her life. She was executed at the age of 48 but her last words were not of hatred, but of hope and love for her country. It’s as if resentment was not an option for her.

Hannah O: 

Dorothy Flude (Grandma) – I’m lucky to have had many incredible women in my life, but my grandma continues to be an inspiration. She grew up in poverty, joined the Wrens in WWII, and went on to set up her own successful business. She loved her job and only stopped working when she was in her mid-70s. At 96 she is still the life of the party, strong and independent, with a social life better than anyone I know!


In the least arrogant way possible, I’m super proud of the little wins I’ve achieved in my life so far and wake up most days thinking “you just do you, babe.” Apart from my doting parents, I’m my biggest fan.
Is that even allowed?
If not, I guess I’d choose Hannah Clapham.


Lady Gaga – It has been an absolute privilege living in the age of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Jazz, pop, rock, fashion, music, acting, writing, she can truly do it all, and she’s not afraid of being ridiculous. L. Gaga truly is so extra. What a blessing it has been to see her latest transformation, ‘Academy Award Nominee for Best Actress Lady Gaga’, this year. From passionate activist to intense performer, she is never boring, always finding new ways to wow us/me. She’s always doing way too much, and yet I cannot get enough of her. A star is born indeed.


Joni Mitchell – When I was about 14, I remember asking my dad to show me his favourite albums of all time. There was Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, and Joni Mitchell’s Blue – and this was the one that stuck with me the most. It quickly became one of my favourite albums as well and probably still is today. But it was only later that I learnt how she fought constantly with the male-dominated music industry and eventually quit as it was, in her words, a ‘corrupt cesspool.’ Standing up against the corruption in spite of the significant financial losses she would suffer is a courageous act, made even more so as she was one of the first to do so. Not only is she a brilliant musician, but a brave and honest person as well.


His sister – On International Women’s Day I want to pay tribute to someone a bit more local. My sister. Who is an inspiration to me and her wonderful kids. She deserves all the credit in the world in my view.


Her best friend, Amy – Whilst in her second year at uni my best mate Amy went through a completely life changing experience and missed two months of studies. She managed to catch up through the summer, finished her third year with a first-class degree, got a great job and now has her own business on the side. She is also one of the most positive people you could ever meet. Basically, she’s an absolute queen.

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