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A world of inspirational women

The world is overflowing with inspirational women. In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are just a handful of those inspiring women. 

  • Helen Sharman OBE
  • Sinéad Burke
  • Crown Princess Victoria
  • Aletta Jacobs
  • Sandi Toksvig OBE
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg 
  • Sarah Al-Amiri
  • Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani
  • Noha Nabil
  • Tanzeel Jabbar-Khadir
  • Deborah Emmanuel

Helen Sharman OBE

In May 1991, at 26 years old, Helen Sharman became the first British astronaut. Hand selected from 13,000 applicants, Helen underwent a rigorous 18 months of training, before she was launched into space. She was in space for just under 8 days, conducting media and agricultural research. Today, Helen is the Outreach Ambassador for Imperial College London, inspiring the next generation of astronauts to, quite literally, reach for the stars. 

Sinéad Burke

Sinéad Burke is a writer, academic, disability activist, and director of the consulting organisation Tilting the Lens, which works to raise the baseline standard in accessibility to design a more accessible world. When she was 16 years old, she began blogging about the fashion industries exclusion of disabled people. Since then, she has done an incredibly successful TED talk, ‘why design should include everyone’, has been invited to the White House under the Obama administration to highlight the importance of inclusive design, and was one of the 15 women selected for the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, guest edited by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. In 2020 she published her first book, ‘Break the Mould’, which includes lessons for children and adults on accepting who you are. 

Crown Princess Victoria

Crown Princess Victoria is the heir to the Swedish throne and, when she becomes queen, will be the first queen of Sweden since 1720. Aside from fulfilling her royal duties, Princess Victoria is heavily involved in charity work, focusing specifically on children. The Crown Princess Victoria Fund was established in 1997 and provides support for leisure and recreational activities for children and young people with chronic illnesses. She is also an LGBTQ+ advocate. 

Image by Håkan Dahlström Photography

Aletta Jacobs

Physician and women suffrage activist Aletta Jacobs, was the first woman to officially attend a Dutch university, and was one of the first female physicians in the Netherlands. After graduating in 1879, Aletta began providing medical services to women and children. She grew increasingly concerned with the health of working women as there were no laws protecting them, meaning that their economic position was compromised. In an attempt to help, Aletta opened a free clinic in 1882, to teach women about hygiene and child care, as well as provide contraception advice and methods. Her clinic was the first birth control clinic in the world. She continued practicing medicine until 1903, however, her attention was always focused on women’s rights and she was instrumental in the establishment of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. 

Image by Jim Forest

Sandi Toksvig OBE

Sandi Toksvig OBE, is a British-Danish writer, comedian, broadcaster, actor, podcaster, and political activist. She has worked on some of the biggest shows on British TV, including The Great British Bake Off and QI. In 2015 Toksvig founded the Women’s Equality Party, a political party that campaigns for gender equality. She explained the reason behind setting up the party was because “it’s not too late to fight the good fight.” 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

From 1993 until her death in 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was the first Jewish woman and only the second woman to serve on the Court. Throughout her legal career, Ginsburg was an advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. She worked to upend legislation that discriminated based upon gender, was a founding counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project, and designed and taught law courses on gender discrimination laws. She is and will always be a feminist icon. 

Sarah Al-Amiri

On February 9th, 2021 the Hope spacecraft from the United Arab Emirate’s space agency went into orbit around Mars. Sarah Al-Amiri was the project’s lead scientist who, along with her 80% female workforce, launched Hope into space. In October 2017 Amiri was named Minister of State for Advanced Sciences in the United Arab Emirates Cabinet. In 2020 Amiri featured on the BBC’s 100 Women list, and in 2021 she was named in the Time’s list of Next 100 Most Influential People. 

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani was named the most influential person in art on Artreview’s Power 100, and was listed in Forbes The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. After graduating with a B.A. in political science and literature, Sheikha Al Mayassa established Reach Out To Asia, an NGO that helps victims of recent natural disasters in Asia. Alongside her philanthropy, Sheikha Al Mayassa is the chairperson of Qatar museums, chairperson of the Doha Film Institute, and is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. 

Noha Nabil

Noha Nabil has been named the most influential figure in the Arab world (2018), was ranked by Forbes in the Top 10 Most Influential Arab Women in Social Media (2017), and Most Influential Arab Figure (2016). She is a businesswoman, model, and media personality. Nabil works with luxury brands, such as Fendi, Armani, and Fendi, and in 2020, Vogue Business described her as “by far the biggest influencer in the Arabic Middle East”

Tanzeel Jabbar-Khadir

Australian native but Bahrain adoptee Tanzeel Jabbar-Khadir is the creator of #100BahrainStories. What began as a social media project in 2016, turned into a book, published in 2018. Tanzeel wanted to get to know the everyday people of Bahrain, so interviewed them and posted their stories online. She used the same format in her book, writing down the stories of Bahrain natives for the world to read. 

Deborah Emmanuel

Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean artist, best known for her poetry. From TEDXSingapore to the Performance Theatre, Emmanuel has toured the world with her poetry. Her work is heavily influenced by political and feminist discourse. 

Whilst you celebrate International Women’s Day, we will take care of your laundry. To book your Laundryheap service, head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app. 

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