Shining a light on women and their incredible stories

5 minute read

Shining a light on women and their incredible stories

Throughout time, the account of women’s role in history has not always been afforded the privilege of being recorded. But this doesn’t mean that women’s stories haven’t been told.

I am often reminded of a quote from famous Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whenever I think of storytelling: "Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity."

By celebrating the women in our lives who inspired us and who have left an indelible mark on our lives, we lift them up to the rightful role they deserve in history. By telling their stories, we afford them the right of being recorded. Today, on International Women’s Day we shine a light on women, who sometimes stay behind the scenes but always deserve to play a leading role.

We asked our fellow Solarians to share their stories about inspiring women in their life – whether they are mothers, sisters, partners, colleagues, friends or even celebrities. I was moved when I read about these incredible women, which is why I want to share their stories with you:

She left her war-torn country as a qualified Doctor at 24, to be thrown into a world apart from her own. Here, she didn't speak the language, had to learn the customs and yet she administered public health to women and children to empower them. She is my mother.”

She is a barrister. So sick of the systemic racism she faces as a barrister who happens to be black and a woman, she decided to start her own Chambers in Fleet Street, London. She is a trailblazer: my heroine and she is my sister.”

My mum is simply amazing! Full of emotions and colors – weak and strong, doubtful and decisive, crying and smiling. She raised me and my brother mostly as a single mum (since I was 9), taking few jobs at her shoulders at one time. Despite financial difficulties she created a home for us where all our friends were welcomed and where the smell of home cake was always in the air.”

Being 66 years old, and after my brother passed away, she plays the role of grandma, mum and father to my nephew and still she can say to me – ‘If I only be so strong as you are…’ – MUMY – you are the strongest woman I’ve ever known, and I would be no one if it wasn’t for you!”

I wouldn’t be without her. She’s taught me the biggest lessons in life and she still does. Because of her I can trust, because of her I can love, because of her I believe in the light of people. She is the absolute right one for me. Mums forever!!!”

She was the oldest of 5 children which meant she was her mother’s “right hand”, taking care of her younger siblings. She would sneak a book to read while herding the sheep because she knew she wanted to study and become someone, maybe someone like Marie Curie. Even at a young age she was ambitious and fierce.”

She had her first child when she was 18. Her country was struggling with communism during that time and people would line up for hours in front of stores to buy one egg and a loaf of bread, if you were lucky enough to still find them on the shelves. For a mother, it was not easy. When she was pregnant with her second child, she was a student at the Faculty of Physics and Chemistry. She got in the top of the class. She took one of her exams in the hospital after giving birth to her second child.”

She took care of three children, worked, cooked and ran the household. She always had to be on top of things. As a mother and wife this was expected of her back then. In certain places, it still is. She worked as a Chemistry teacher and was passionate about her job. She would go beyond teaching and her students always knew they could reach out to her whenever they had any personal problems and needed her help. She was more than just a teacher for many of them. She would bring her youngest daughter to work with her and she was proud when her daughter who was in elementary school could recite by heart the periodic table.”

She was proud when the brilliant students she taught won Chemistry prizes in national contests. She was proud when her first child became a Biologist and the second a Doctor. Their success is her success. She is brave, strong and caring. She is my role model, my mom.”

My eternal source of inspiration is my Mother and shall always be. She taught me to be strong as well as gentle, to value relationships, to understand the power of courage, will, determination as well as love. She taught me the essence of humility as well as the essence of pride as virtue which is not possible without nobility and goodness of character.”

Today she is an artist and goes her own way, as she always has. When our paths crossed, I was at the beginning of my career and she was first my colleague, then my boss. From her I learned so much in the business world, I learned to be strong in a mostly male-dominated world and to trust in my abilities. I learned from her to be thorough and at the same time always have a healthy dose of pragmatism. She has gone out into the world on her own, been on an icebreaker by herself and made sure not to lose the balance between work, determination and her own well-being. She is my dear colleague Christine G.”

This story is about my fiancée, whom I've seen make an extraordinary journey. She struggled a lot early in life, and was told by some that she wouldn't amount to anything. Instead, she kept fighting to improve her life and is now a professional designer and printer.”

She was born and raised between two world wars. When her first daughter was born in 1944, she fled from the bombers - alone, 70 kilometers on foot, with a baby carriage. Just when she thought she was safe, the bombers followed and she had to flee again. I was very lucky to spend a large part of my childhood with this special woman. Her strong will, her warmth and her whimsical passion for ski jumping left her mark on me. She was my great-grandmother and the child in the stroller was my grandmother.”

My mum, Barbara, is nothing short of awesome! She uses the term "Ebeyeyie" - which is my native Ghanaian language (Twi) for "everything will work out, eventually" - regardless of how "tough" a situation might seem. I'm lucky to have her in my life.

When I saw Kamala Harris take her oath as the Vice President of America, viscerally something moved within me. I didn’t know as an adult woman- I could still be surprised by who inspires me. For the first time, I was seeing someone in that position- that someone who looked like me, who probably speaks the same language as me, has a connection to the southern part of India like me. I was unaware of the power of representation and didn’t know it would come to mean so much to me today.”

__And this is a story about my female hero, who is yours? __

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