Women who can change the world

Posted: 9 March, 2012 in inspiration
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There is nothing like being in a room full of powerful and inspiring women to make you feel like you can do anything.  Listening to them speak at a International Women’s Day event last night, I heard about their passionate work – volunteer work in Uganda, photography exhibitions, being a (very) young carer of a sick parent – and what inspires them to keep going, and I felt like my life was so small by comparison. But I also felt, and was reminded by several speakers during their talks, that whether you are 18 or 80 it is never too late to do what you love.  And you should definitely do what you love, because doing what you love not only inspires others but can help others as well.

One of the speakers last night was a woman known as Mama Jude (Judy Steel). Her work in Uganda has enabled so many women to take control over their own lives, to learn how to read, write, take care of their children’s and their own health, and even start their own business and manage their income – she has changed lives with her volunteer work. Her book, “Mama Jude: An Australian Nurse’s Extraordinary Other Life in Africa” gives an amazing account of what she, and other volunteers, have accomplished. It was such an honour to meet her and hear her speak and I’ve really taken to heart her message of “do what you love”.

An artist, Sarah Brown, also spoke last night with her beautiful photographs on display in the background.  Her message was “feel the fear and do it anyway”. She talked about how daunting it was to step out of your comfort zone to do something you really love doing but that the only way to truly be happy is to do just that.  It gave me comfort that a woman so talented still has that fear that she may not be good enough. She reminded me that my fear is no different from the fear any artist feels when they display their work. Am I good enough to be doing this? What if people don’t like it? What will I do if I fail? She spoke about how her exhibition began and that there was a very real and pertinent message behind each piece and that is what she focused on – getting her message across (which she did, very beautifully). Facing her fear and doing what she wanted to do anyway was a message I really needed to hear.

Another inspiring speaker was an 18-year-old girl who has been her mother’s carer since she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. This young girl spoke so well on the number of historical and contemporary women whose stories inspire her and show her what true strength is. She spoke of Billie Holiday and her determination to be recognised as a woman, not seen as and discriminated against because she was a black woman. It was great to see a young woman at the podium expressing herself so well and recognising the accomplishments of strong women of past generations. I hope other teenagers see her as the inspiration she is.

All of these women made me realise just how many great examples of strength, determination, courage and amazing talent there are, ready to be explored and used for inspiration.  I am going to use this year to find out as much as I can about the women who stood up for themselves and stood out for their accomplishments.  I know that without these women, there would be no opportunity for any of us today to study, work, even take a lead in government. I am so grateful for the path their efforts have paved for us, and the inspiration they provide to girls many generations later.

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Comments
  1. We are women, hear us ROAR!!! 🙂 Indeed, our history is filled with many great women who overcame overwhelming circumstances and made such huge impacts on history. One woman that I find really inspiring is Helen Keller….both deaf and blind, but still managed to leave her mark in history, continuing to work towards the things she believed in. I am a true believer that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.

    Looking forward to following your blog!!

    • RickyB says:

      You are so right. I love Helen Keller’s story too. She has got to be one of the most determined women I’ve ever read about. She amazes me. I love Anne Sullivan’s story as well. It reminds me how much of an impact some people can have on us – sometimes a life-changing, world-changing impact.
      Thanks so much for following!

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