Originally known as International Working Women’s Day, the 8th March now commemorates the women’s rights movement with International Women’s Day. The special date celebrates women’s achievements all around the world, with organised conferences and rallies, networking events and marches.
In more recent years, social media has increased awareness of the annual celebration. We’re seeing more and more celebrities take to their channels to show support for women’s rights and gender equality. And at Signatures Liverpool, we thought we’d celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 with a look at some of Liverpool’s very own inspiring ladies!
International Women’s Day Liverpool
Undoubtedly one of Liverpool’s most inspiring ladies, Margaret Aspinall has touched many hearts over the years, as chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Though Margaret lost her own 18-year old son James in the 1989 disaster, Margaret decided that she wouldn’t accept defeat.
Instead, she chose to act selflessly and put other victims first. For over 26 years, Margaret told herself that she would make the bigger cause her priority, thinking about the 95 other people as well as her personal heartbreak.
While speaking to Brian Reade of the Mirror, Margaret shared:
“Whenever I was on support group business I’d quietly say ‘forgive me son, I’m putting you to one side for the moment’ because I never wanted to let the other victims down.”
Despite all odds, and persistent lies publicised by some of the UK’s leading media outlets, Margaret never gave up hope that the truth would be revealed. The remarkable campaigner emphasised:
“My job was all about getting the right verdict. it’s the only gift we can take to our loved ones. To say we did it, we changed the verdict.”
And after so many years of pain and injustice, Margaret’s inspiring work paid off. On 26th April 2016, the jury reached a verdict that the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed. It was justice at last for the 96 and their families.
Frances Molloy launched the Tyred Campaign in memory of her son, Michael Molloy, who tragically died in a coach crash in 2012. The Merseypride coach was returning from Bestival when one of its 19-year-old tyres blew out, killing three people.
After learning that use of the old tyre was legal, Frances Molloy launched a campaign to change the law. Despite pressure from the campaign, The Department of Transport refused to implement the change, and simply amended their guidelines.
This has meant that since the fateful crash, companies have legally continued to use age-old tyres, which after a number of years begin to degrade from the inside out. But as the years have gone on, Frances’ determination hasn’t wavered. Mrs Molloy has continued to passionately campaign, hoping to prevent other families from experiencing such a needless loss.
The Tyred campaign team have spent years travelling across the country to speak to tyre experts, the general public, trade unions, politicians, journalists and everyone in between. They have also gained backing from major companies including National Express. Not forgetting, Liverpool’s very own star of Killing Eve and inspiring lady in her own right, Jodie Comer has also spoken out with support.
Jodie Comer told The Big Issue:
“There is a campaign called Tyred which I am so passionate about,” says Comer. “It is about the age of tyres. There is no restriction on coach tyres. A few years ago, a young lad called Michael Molloy who we grew up with and who played music in a bar where we live was on his way home from Bestival when a tyre blew on the coach. He was only 18
…Frances, Michael’s mum, has been fighting to get legislation in place. Speaking to Frances helped me realise that if you have a following, and make a few more people aware of what is going on, you can help.”
Finally in 2019, plans are in place to ban old tyres on buses and coaches. Mrs Molloy told the press:
“I now know no other mum will have to face the life we do.”
Liverpool’s fantastic track and field athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson was born in Woolton, Liverpool. Katarina represents Liverpool Harriers, and started off her journey to success when she won the heptathlon gold medal in the 2009 World Youth Championships in Athletics.
Putting strength, determination and plenty of girl power into practise, Katarina set a new indoor British long jump record in 2015 at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix. Later that year at Beijing’s 2015 World Championships, Katarina made headline news by leading the first two events with World Heptathlon Champion Jessica Ennis-Hill just in front.
The Liverpudlian reached new heights when she made it to the 2016 Summer Olympics, taking sixth place in the heptathlon. And though the star may have missed out on a medal, her mesmerising heptathlon high jump set a new British record.
When Anthony Walker was killed in a racially motivated attack in 2005, his brave mother Gee Walker chose to deal with her grief with grace, and began to help spread awareness of racism around the city.
Offering her son’s killers unimaginable forgiveness, Gee shared:
“I have to forgive them. I can’t feel anger and hatred, because that is what killed my son”.
One of the most inspiring campaigns in Liverpool, The Anthony Walker Foundation was established by Anthony’s family. Gee Walker was dedicated to ensuring that her son’s legacy would live on for all the right reasons; she was motivated to keep spreading peace, harmony and integrity in Anthony’s honour.
The foundation continues to offer a range of workshops to the public, designed to make a lasting difference. Their work aims to shed light on issues surrounding diversity, and educate people on how to deal effectively with prejudice.
The foundation’s services vary from school assembly presentations, workshops for staff on racist incidents and briefing sessions centred around hate crime. With such a kind heart and positive message, we’re endlessly inspired by this wonderful lady.
While you may recognise her from strutting the streets of New York in Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall was born in the leafy suburbs of Liverpool’s Mossley Hill. Holding dual citizenship, Kim’s family migrated to Canada when she was baby, but she certainly hasn’t left her roots behind.
An avid supporter of Liverpool’s heritage, Kim uses her celebrity platform to have her voice heard, and when it comes to Liverpool, she isn’t afraid to speak out on behalf of us Scousers.
Kim became involved in the controversy surrounding the Futurist cinema and the campaign to protect Sefton Park Meadows. During the park campaign, Kim shared, “I love Sefton Park. I was lucky enough to grow up playing there. Sefton Park was a refuge for my mother during her childhood years”.
Despite her fame, Kim’s idea of a day out is worlds apart from that of Samantha Jones. A huge fan of LFC, the Liverpool-born actress has spoken of her support for the team, sharing, “I really have been touched by many things in my life but to stand there with my scarf outstretched and to join in the chorus of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, I had tears running down my cheeks”. The Sex and the City star even owns a pink pair of lucky LFC slippers!
Speaking to The Guardian, Kim explained that talking about Liverpool makes her think of her mother:
“You know, my mother was a very strong woman and she was the one who educated me to make life choices that were good for me and not rely on a man to do that”.
One of Liverpool’s leading business women, Katie Kenwright is the owner of award-winning hotelier Signature Living. And this year, Katie’s work has been recognised with a nomination in the Northern Power Women’s Awards for 2019.
Katie is a fabulous example of a woman in business who understands the value of money and hard work. When Signature Living opened its first hotel apartments, Katie was working in the hotel herself, from making beds to ensuring stays ran smoothly.
Today, Signature Living has branched out across the UK, creating hundreds of jobs and restoring heritage buildings to their former glory. Katie is still closely involved in the business, from both a creative and revenue angle. Not forgetting, she also manages to juggle looking after her twins Arabella and Junior!
Speaking to the Trail Blazer in 2018, Katie shared her best piece of advice:
“Don’t be scared to be different, have the confidence to think outside the box and leap outside your comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens.”
Liverpool Girl Geeks
Thinking ahead for future generations of girls, Liverpool Girl Geeks aims to decrease the gender imbalance within the tech industry. Shockingly, only 17% of the UK technology workforce is female, and one of Liverpool’s most exciting, young, inspiring businesses is dedicated to changing that.
To put their work into action, Liverpool Girl Geeks have worked with a variety of tech companies to help encourage women and young girls to get involved. And most importantly, to raise awareness about the opportunities that are out there.
Co-founder of Liverpool Girl Geeks and managing director shared with Andrew Wright at YB News:
“We want women to recognise that they have a place within the tech industry and by working closely with our partners we can promote the range of career choices available to them.”
Hoping to reach younger girls before they have decided their career path, Liverpool Girl Geeks have worked with teenagers and young girls on a variety of projects to ignite their talent early on and provide support that can’t always be found within busy school lessons.
So, we hope you’ve been inspired by Liverpool’s most unstoppable, forward-thinking women. Why not check out our round up of 20 influential people from Liverpool?