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Updated: Mar 8, 2021

I have chosen one thought and one inspirational woman for every day of the week until International Women’s Day on March 8th. Who will you choose?

Some of these women are on the BBC list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world 2020. Some I have had the privilege to meet. Their stories are truly awe-inspiring, and yet most are “ordinary” women who have found a way to be inspirational.

Find inspiration in a woman in history, in the news now, in your own family. Be inspired!

1. Care less about the naysayers. My inspirational woman of the day is Nisreen Alwan. Her quote: “During 2020, I did three things more: speak my mind, do what I fear and forgive myself. I also did three things less: care what others think of me, blame myself and believe I’m less than others.”

2. Start your own story – make something happen, care about the content, and others will care, too. My inspirational woman of the day is Sarah Al-Amiri, UAE Minister for Advanced Technologies quote: “We need to make a collective effort to continue growing, and to ensure the sustainability of our fragile world.”

3. Do not underestimate yourself; it’s not just you; you can make a difference through the power of your thought and persistence. My inspirational woman of the day is Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, emeritus professor of nursing and a ground-breaking sickle-cell nurse who has been a key figure in highlighting the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities. Her quote: “Never underestimate the positive global contribution that you and so many other women are making.”

4. Do it anyway! What would you do if you had the confidence? Then do it anyway! See what happens. My inspirational woman of the day: Christina Adane, campaigner, the woman behind the UK petition for free school meals over the summer holidays. Christina’s quote: “Never compromise on yourself or your beliefs. No woman has ever made a change by blending in with the crowd.”

5. Rely on your sense of self. Always be true to who you are. My inspirational woman of the day is: Prof. Sarah Gilbert, lead scientist on the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine. Her motto is "You just get on with it!"

6. Have a vision! If you can see it in your mind’s eye, then you can make it happen, no matter what anyone says. My inspirational woman of the day is Claire Mason, CEO of Man Bites Dog who founded the Gender SAY Gap to raise women's visibility in business and the media. Her story is testimony to how she built her own self-confidence and is putting her vision into practice.

7. Be provocative! My inspirational woman of the day is the feminist artist Judith Chicago whose magnificent and provocative installation The Dinner Party demonstrates and demnds that women have a seat at the table of decision-making and the cultural shaping of our world.

8. You are inspiring. Who will you inspire today? My inspirational woman of the day is Cindy Bishop, the knowledge director of Dragonfly360 that campaigns for gender equality in Asia, and a UN Women ambassador. Her quote: “The world changed a lot in 2020. With change comes opportunity for progress. Everyone should be allowed to live with equal dignity and freedom. We must continue to inspire the next generation of young women and men.”

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