I happen to be writing this post on International Women's Day 2019, but any day is a good day to be inspired by the stories of strong, brave women. Here's a selection of five of my favourites.
If you ever think your life is hard, watch City of Joy to put everything in perspective. The film documents the horror of rape used as a weapon of war, and follows the lives of women in the Congo who have endured unimaginable violence while they support each other to try to rediscover their personal power and find some joy in the process.
‘My sisters you will transform the suffering you have endured into power.’ Christine Schuler Deschryver
The one, the only, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This is the woman who took on generations of entrenched legal attitudes to women and won. The lesson is that rattling the bars from inside the system might not be as visually captivating as rattling them from outside, but it’s actually the only way to achieve lasting results.
‘A gender line…helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.’ Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Photographer, Cynthia McAdams 1977 book ‘Emergence’ and subsequent photography exhibition, ‘Feminist Portraits” form the basis of this stylish documentary. Interviews with some of the feminist subjects who appeared in the original book provide a foil to thoughts from current day feminists such as Funmilola Fagbamila, professor, sociologist and playwright, while sadly illuminating that the ensuing 42 years has brought slow slow slow change to the status of women.
‘I’ve only known for ten years that ‘No’ was a complete sentence.’ Jane Fonda
Raped at age seven by her mother’s boyfriend, Maya Angelou stopped speaking for five years. When she found her voice again she became an icon - representing and inspiring all those who have felt themselves silenced. With a voice like molten honey, you’ll be transfixed by every Maya Angelou utterance in this beautifully filmed movie.
‘I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.’ Maya Angelou
An oldie but always a goodie. Ok so overlooking the fact that Elle Woods got into Harvard Law in order to pursue her boyfriend, she DID triumph in the end by gaining a law degree and losing a douchebag. She also demonstrated that caring about being a smart, strong woman doesn’t mean you have to give up pretty pink things and personal grooming - unless you want to.
‘I don’t need back-ups. I’m going to Harvard.’ Elle Woods