Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day, which celebrates the achievements of women across the world. To mark the day, each member of Pivot Power named one woman who has inspired them in their life and why. This simple brief produced a plethora of women – from family members to astronomers to mountaineers to… Lady Gaga! A reminder to all women that you don’t have to fit a particular mould to achieve and inspire others.
Christiana is a force of nature (literally!) in International Climate policy and negotiations, building coalitions through fearless, pragmatic leadership. She was instrumental in building the global support necessary to secure the Paris Agreement. She provides an optimistic voice in the climate crisis where it is easy to be paralysed by the news or by 25 years of diplomacy not achieving. She is as comfortable in a coal industry conference calling for change as she is in a room of climate NGOs.
My mum raised my brother and me alone whilst working full-time and always had a support system of strong, amazing women around her, which has taught me the value of nurturing and supportive female friendships. She’s retired now, is living her best life and is not afraid to travel abroad alone. She also kicked cancer up the bum twice in one year.
One of the first women to complete EPIC 5 – five ironman distance triathlons on the five Hawaiian Islands in five days. This year she completed the absurd ultra-endurance Uberman race. This consists of a 400-mile cycle from LA to the edge of the dessert, climbing 20,000ft before descending into Badwater Basin, a 135-mile run across Death Valley ending up on Mount Whitney, and a 21-mile sea swim. Mel is not just the first woman to attempt this – she smashed it, completing the course in 136 hours. The mental strength is out of this world.
She discovered the universe!
Georgina was a tomboy who demanded that people call her George. I loved her headstrong and courageous nature. She famously never told lies, said what she thought and called people out if they didn’t live up to her moral standard. She was loyal, strong and brave. She adored her equally loyal dog Timmy. She must have had a bigger subconscious effect on me than I realised as I am happily married to a fiery redhead called Georgina – albeit with slightly longer hair – who speaks her mind and has a very loyal dog.
In my humble opinion she’s ‘The Queen of the Pivot’: she’s multi-talented (can write, compose, produce, record and perform, act); she challenges the status quo (e.g. ‘meat dress’?!?!); she’s passionate, vulnerable and authentic; and she uses her platform for good (from a gender- and race- neutral makeup line to the Born This Way Foundation). Her accomplishments speak volumes: the first PERSON to ever win an Academy, Grammy, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award…in the same year!
Pasang was the first Nepali woman to climb K2, one of the world’s most dangerous mountains. She was also the first female Nepali mountaineering guide, the founder of a foundation assisting with women’s education in Nepal and active fund raiser for the families of Nepali Sherpas and porters killed in the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal.
For being the strongest person I know and never losing her humanity!
Because she’s fiery, informed and fearless and always so graceful in her delivery. She’s 29 and a total anthesis to greedy, self-serving politicians dominating US politics.
Tanya is an independent health entrepreneur who has built a dedicated following of clients and supporters. She’s a fantastic teacher, coach and mother and a great inspiration to everyone she meets. She really impacts people’s lives on a day-to-day basis, and I think that’s worthy of recognition on International Women’s Day.
Merkel has brought calm, intelligence and dignity to the international stage, as attention has been grabbed by celebrity buffoons and strident populists. As politicians are ever-more willing to sow division, she has fought to keep Germany and Europe united, and seems to have been willing to put what she thinks is right above what she thinks is popular. Think what kind of world we might be in if we’d had leaders like her across the world for the last 15 years.
Despite her obvious mathematical abilities, Katherine had to overcome both sexism and racism to have her name added to research papers and to be included in important meetings during her time at NASA. Her willingness to stand up and get the credit she clearly deserved is as important as her genius.
As I kid, I saw Henin playing at a small tennis tournament in my local tennis club (in little Belgium) and remember thinking she was incredible. She then became World Number 1 for three years and won all major tournaments, thanks to her mental strength but also an incredibly versatile playing style and the most elegant single handed backhand.
From the 1950s she was the primary earner in her household, which was extraordinary at the time. She was the first woman to join the local cycling club, regularly cycled over 60 miles and was known for cycling in excess of 100 miles! All despite societal view that cycling wasn’t for women. At the age of 93 she out-danced me on the dance floor at my wedding!
She wears the Crown unconditionally in spite of (sometimes) extreme internal/external pressures. She has remained a humble, smart and composed person no matter what Prime Minister or world leader she has faced since being parachuted into her role at an early age (still going strong at 93). When the daily grind takes its toll, the quintessential British saying “Keep Calm and Carry On” springs to mind and I don’t think there is anyone better that embodies it (apart from my dear wife!)
Ardern has repeatedly shown the world that embodying typically feminine characteristics is not a sign of weakness but strength – she shows resilience and strength enriched with empathy and kindness in her leadership, not to mention had a baby whilst running New Zealand! Her message of inclusivity and fairness sets her miles apart from most (male) leaders today.