This International Women’s Day the FGRLS CLUB team are reflecting and thanking the women that inspire them most. Our community and platform champion and celebrates women every day, so IWD is just another excuse to gush about how great we all are. Use today as a chance to tell the women who keep you going and the women who show you anything is possible just how much they mean to you.
Chloe Laws, Founder & Co-Editor
I’ve been sat staring at my computer screen for almost an hour, with the words stubbornly refusing to flow. Talking about women who inspire me isn’t hard, I do it (literally) all day long. It’s my life’s greatest work – to celebrate the resilience and intelligence of women who are out here changing the world. But picking just one? That’s near impossible. Do I tell you about my best friend who’s currently on the other side of the world? Or do I talk about my sister, who I shared a womb with? What about my grandmother? My favourite author? The teacher who believed in my writing? What about all the amazing activists out there?
So, I’ve slightly controversially but hopefully not conceitedly, chosen myself. Because, this International Women’s Day, I think we should all be giving ourselves a massive pat on the back and a big, warm and lingering, hug.
Here’s why we should all be inspired by ourselves: For every day you thought you couldn’t get through, and did. For every setback and ‘no’ you hear, and persist in spite of. For every woman you have upheld, from a simple “I’ll be here” call to those you empower at work. For every glass-ceiling you shatter, just by fearlessly being yourself. For learning to take up a bit more space and a bit less emotional labour. For showing up, even when you don’t want to. For not showing up sometimes, and knowing that it’s okay to not always be okay. For becoming a woman that a younger you would have admired and never believed they could be.
Sara Macauley, Co-Editor
As cliched as it may be to choose your Mum as your female inspiration, she’s the first person who sprung to mind when the question was asked of me. As I’ve grown up, I’ve let go of the notion that our parents are infinitely perfect, unflawed humans. My Mum and I had our fair share of fights when I was a moody teen – most, my fault, some hers – but as I’ve grown into a woman myself, I’ve been left with nothing short of admiration for the woman she is. My Mum is so kind it astounds me. She almost single-handedly looks out for my Granny since her husband died and she doesn’t expect any praise for it. She’s at the end of the phone with reassuring words when I have a mental health wobble, or when I’ve had my heart broken. She puts up with my Dad’s constant sarcastic jokes and grumpiness. She taught my sister and me that we could be whatever we wanted to be. She tried desperately to understand my depression when it was an alien concept to her, when I was a shrivelled ball of snot and tears. She still tucks her 23-year-old daughter into bed with a hot water bottle when she’s got hellish period pains. She was terrified to see me travel to the other side of the world but encouraged me to do it anyway. She was such a fantastic teacher that she received nothing but praise from the parents of kids in her class, and a mountain of presents at the end of each school year.
She’s a non-stop powerhouse and has been through the worst year of her life losing her sister and father in a few short months, she’s been the epicentre of my family’s healing, despite being lost in grief herself. Her love for others is infinite. I hope that I can learn from her, and if I can be half the Mum she is when I have children of my own, I’ll be happy.
Katie Muxworthy, Staff Writer
My mate Kate is a constant inspiration, support and all around incredible woman, and I don’t think I tell her enough. Kate was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when she was in her pre-teen years and has lived with her chronic illness heroically, and most importantly, full of fucking sass, for 16 years. This year, however, Kate was there holding my hand when I was finally diagnosed with Crohns diseases (a v similar autoimmune sister disease to UC). After three years of struggling through pain, procedures and misdiagnosis, Kate was there by my side for every single flare, tear and medical prod & poke. She took me out for a Nandos after one particularly invasive surgery. She brought round supplies of custard creams as I cried about my new medication, and she continues to answer my millions of messages about bowel movements at all hours of the day. She passes me a gin when I want to be reminded that chronic illness does not define you, and it has NEVER defined her.
My mate Kate tirelessly advocates for women/non-binary people in the music industry and is the co-founder of the incredible Get In Her Ears, which promotes new music on their website, radio show and monthly gig night. My mate Kate is witty, intelligent, emotive and strong. I’m not sure what I would do without her. Happy International women’s day to my mate, Kate.
Amy Beecham, Staff Writer.
From a very, very long list of women, I would have to pick Munroe Bergdorf as one I admire the most. Anyone that can face Piers Morgan with that amount of humility and grace, and without wringing his neck is a hero and a better woman than I. But seriously, her contribution to LGBTQ+ activism is immeasurable, and I think it’s so important that she doesn’t just preach, but practices awareness, empowerment and social justice. Anyone who lives their life in the face of adversity but still takes the time to help empower those less privileged is an inspiration.
Louise Henry, Staff Writer.
In the National Portrait Gallery recently, I came across a painting of Dorothy Hodgkin. To my shame, I’d never heard of the Nobel Prize-winning chemist, but I kept coming back to the image of her working away at her desk. I’m no art connoisseur, but I knew that whoever was behind the portrait was bold and eccentric.
That’s how I discovered Maggi Hambling. At 73, she’s rarely captured, either in paint or print, without a fag or a drink in her hand. She swears like a trooper and cites whiskey as one of her five favourite objects in a video for British Vogue. Her hair is wild and untamed. In interviews, she sits, legs akimbo, like a bloke on a packed Victoria line train. Her work often centres around mortality, including portraits of her alcoholic, lesbian lover on her deathbed. She doesn’t like “buggering around” whether critics like it or not (her infamous ‘Conversation with Oscar Wilde’ statue in London has been labelled tacky, whilst others are desperate to rip it down). According to an interview with The Independent in 2009, she states that her mother referred to her as “the most obstinate child she had ever come across”.
She’s fantastically honest, and unapologetically herself. Quite frankly, she couldn’t give a fuck, and that for me is the most refreshingly inspirational thing a woman can do.