International Women's Day I Oxford Open Learning

    Women's Day

    International Women’s Day

    Our Most Inspiring Young Women Today

    This International Women’s Day – on the 8th of March – let’s celebrate some of the most successful and influential young British women.

    1. Ellie Simmonds

    Since winning two gold medals at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 when she was just 13-years-old, swimmer Ellie Simmonds has become a household name. She was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2008 and has won several gold, silver and bronze medals at subsequent Paralympic Games and World Championships, becoming one of Britain’s most successful female athletes. Ellie has appeared on popular television shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Celebrity Bake Off and was appointed an MBE in 2009, an honour which was then elevated to OBE in 2012. Since retiring from competitive swimming in 2021, Ellie has continued to be involved in sport, working as a presenter for the BBC. Ellie also does much charity work through her positions as patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK, ambassador for WaterAid, and ambassador for The Scout Association.

    2. Mya-Rose Craig

    Affectionately known as ‘Birdgirl’, Mya-Rose Craig is a British-Bangladeshi ornithologist and climate activist. When she was seven, Mya-Rose took part in a challenge to record sightings of as many British bird species as possible within a given geographical area, and became the youngest person to complete the challenge. Her enthusiasm for birds continued and, by the time she was 17, she had spotted half of the birds in the world. In 2020, Mya-Rose joined Greenpeace on a youth climate strike in the Arctic and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol for science. In 2021, she published her first book, We Have a Dream, and interviewed Dame Jane Goodall for Resurgence and Ecologist magazine. Since then, she has been invited to interviews and taken part in important panel discussions alongside prominent activists such as Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzi and Stella McCartney. Mya-Rose’s memoir, Birdgirl, was published in 2022 and she continues to preside over Black2Nature – an organisation, which she established when she was 14, that supports access to nature for minority ethnic communities.

    3. Leah Williamson

    Footballer Leah Williamson (pictured) is famously known as the England women’s football team captain who led the Lionesses to victory during the UEFA European Championship in 2022. Leah began her football career at the Rushden and Diamonds Centre of Excellence at the age of 6 before joining Arsenal’s Centre of Excellence aged 9. She has played for England youth teams since 2010 and has been a member of Arsenal’s senior team since 2014. In 2018, Leah began training with England’s senior squad, making her debut in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Russia in 2019. Since then, her football career has gone from strength to strength, becoming England captain in 2022. Leah has spoken publicly about her struggle with endometriosis as she strives to raise awareness of the condition, and she is a tireless advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in sport, choosing to wear a Stonewall rainbow armband throughout the Euro 2022 games.

    4. Alice Oseman

    Writer Alice Oseman rose to fame after her comic series Heartstopper – a revelatory depiction of LGBTQIA+ romance – became an Emmy award-winning and BAFTA-nominated Netflix drama after it premiered in 2022. Alice is also the author of several other young adult novels – Solitaire (her debut novel, published in 2014), Radio Silence, I Was Born for This and Loveless. Her work has been shortlisted for and won numerous book awards and Loveless was listed as a New York Times bestseller. Alice does much to advocate for LGBTQIA+ equality and is open and outspoken about her genderfluidity and asexual and aromantic sexuality.

    You can learn about more inspiring British women here: The Vogue 25: Meet The Powerhouse Women Who Made This Year’s Line-Up and here: Independent Women 2023: The Influence List.


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    Image: EL Loko

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