This year's International Women's Day theme is "Choose to Challenge" so we thought we would ask the team here to tell us who they feel inspired by. After all, Mia Tui was founded by Charlotte with help from Van in Vietnam, so where better to celebrate women than on the Mia Tui blog? Both Charlotte and Van have worked hard against the odds to launch a brand that women both here in the UK and abroad have grown to love and trust. That's a huge achievement and shows a determination to succeed and an ability to lead and challenge the larger more well known brands.
Part of me thinks it is sad that we even need to label a day as a "Women's Day" but there is also another part of me, the Mother part I guess that feels we should indeed shout about it from the roof tops. And maybe therein lies the problem? We want to be equal but we want to celebrate amazing women as if being ground breakers is something that women have to celebrate? We don't celebrate ground breaking men do we?
I have to be honest, I don't think I have ever looked at a woman and thought "Wow look what she has achieved and she's a woman!" I'm 51 this year and although when I was growing up, many of my friends' mums didn't work outside of looking after the family I really don't think that I ever put them in categories, you know, never thought of them as more or less because of their careers or lack of. I wonder whether my way of looking at this was typical? Or whether without even knowing it, my Mum installed a positive outlook that being a woman didn't mean I had to question whether I was able to achieve certain things or not?
My Mum went back to work when I was 5. She had worked in London before I was born and commuted in everyday. This didn't work after my arrival and so she found a job as a PA to a woman who was probably at the time quiet a rarity. A single woman who had made her fortune in building and property. My Mum was her "right hand woman" ... that sounds familiar ;-)
Mum was simply Mum, I never questioned her job, or why she had to, or chose to work. Looking back as an adult now with a grown up family of my own and grandchildren, I think my Mum couldn't ever have been a stay at home mum. She was gregarious, the life and soul of any party and all my friends adored her. She smoked and drank plenty and was certainly never a pushover or someone to be taken lightly. My Mum was a contrary Mary, loving and kind, soft and cuddly but also never to be taken for a fool. She was an organiser, family leader, juggler of life and everyone loved her. I feel that without knowing it, she certainly challenged what at the time was the "norm" for women.
She would embarrass me mercilessly as a teenager and I used to get so cross with her for that. Of course, when my children were teens I did exactly the same thing. She knew me like no one else, even though I didn't think she did at the time. She taught me so much without ever making me realise I was being taught.
So, on this International Women's Day, I love to read about all the famous groundbreaking women that have gone before me but I also want to celebrate the ordinary women, who just like my mum and other mums' simply led the life they managed to carve out any which way they could. The women who, maybe like me didn't feel the need or desire to have to be groundbreaking, to achieve more than was expected of us but just got on with things and were happy with our lot.
So, lets see who the rest of the team want to talk about on International Women's Day ....
Charlotte has also chosen her Mum as the woman to inspire her and look up to, she says "My Mum gave me THE best childhood, full of security and love which I believe is what gives me the confidence to be who I am today. When I think back to my time growing up, my Mum gave up so much of herself for her family. There was nothing I couldn't discuss with her and she brings that to all of her grandchildren too. Thank you Mum for just being you."
Emily looked to someone rather more famous, she says "A woman who has inspired me is Audrey Hepburn. I have always loved her movies and how she can captivate a whole audience, Sabrina is the best movie! Not only is she a famous actress but during the Second World War she was part of the Dutch resistance and performed ballet shows to raise money for the effort. This inspires me because she was only a teenager during the war so to be able to take a stand and put herself at risk for the greater good is very inspiring. She is not just the classy 1950’s and 60’s movie star that we all know and love."
Rebecca chose Michelle Obama as she finds her an inspiration because she didn't come from a privileged background but had a determination to work hard and succeed in her career. Becca says that Michelle once said “The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.” Rebecca feels that this is something that every young woman can relate to and the knowledge that from an ordinary childhood, simple hard work can bring a life that helps make a difference to others.
Of course, I can't go without mentioning all the amazing women who we have come to meet and talk to through being customers of Mia Tui and from our Facebook Community group. Women who all have trials and tribulations to face and overcome and who do this with strength and determination but also a loving kind heart for others. Women who always have time to cheer one another on and who know that to build each other up is the greatest gift you can give. So thank you to each and everyone of you for being the kind of women who share your kindness and love.
We hope you have a positive and happy International Women's Day!
The Mia Tui Team x