For International Women’s Day we wanted to celebrate our heroes, icons and those whose work, attitude and story inspires us.
The woman I want to celebrate this International Women’s Day is Hadley Freeman. Guardian journalist, writer of three books, knower of all things…(this is what I call her, not what she calls herself). She approaches complex issues with compassion and intellect, and is empathetic and fierce all at once. Every time I read her column I slam my fists on the table and say ‘Hadley’s goshdarn done it again!’. In fact, I often don’t bother having an opinion on something until I’ve read what hers is. My partner met her once and told her ‘your word is law in our house’. It’s so true. She’s awesome.
Hannah, Senior Writer
My International Women’s Day icon is Nadiya Hussain. We had the chance to work with her recently and she is as wonderful a human being as you’d hope she’d be. She’s phenomenally talented (and does so much more than make the cakes we first knew her for on ‘Bake Off’), but she’s also smart and silly and doesn’t take herself too seriously. For a woman who has seen so much success in recent years, she is also still incredibly down-to-earth and humble. I will be forever a fan.
Aileen, Deputy Managing Director
This International Women’s Day, I’m celebrating Malala because of her incredible bravery and strength in her convictions to make the world a better place. Malala is so much more than just 'the girl that got shot'. She single-handedly opened the world's eyes to gender inequality and the right to have an education in both her own country and beyond. Having seen Malala in various TV interviews, she comes across as smart, articulate and courageous but there's also a sense of humour that belies the horror she has suffered in her young life. Above all, I really admire her humility and how her achievements transcend age, race and religion.
Bharat, Technical Director
My hero is Viv Albertine. The fierce guitarist in the all-female 70s punk band, The Slits, stuck her middle finger up at anybody and anything that got in her way (at a time when women were encouraged by society to behave 'properly'). She's a cancer survivor, single mother, successful memoirist, and still never gives up the fight for the outsider. How could you not be emboldened and inspired by her?
Fran, Senior Account Director
The woman I’m celebrating this International Women's Day is Natalie Merchant. Folk singer, rock chick, poet, mother, campaigner, pianist, barefoot dancer – all before Florence Welch was born. She wrote the best song for a 13-year-old girl imaginable, Tell Yourself, and the most moving song about the loss of a wife, My Beloved Wife. She is the essence of an artist with integrity, ploughing a career on her own terms with a heartbreakingly warm voice.
Charlie, Executive Creative Director
My icon for International Women’s Day has got to be Rachel Whiteread for her substantial achievements in the art world. She makes incredibly considered, emotive work and was the first woman to receive the Turner Prize with her sculpture, House (1993). She won the prestigious commission to design Vienna's Holocaust Memorial and was part of the 1997 Young British Artists 'Sensation' exhibit. She’s a total inspiration.
Jane, Head of Design
Victoria Coren Mitchell
The woman I want to celebrate on International Women’s Day is Victoria Coren Mitchell. I was lucky enough to work with her recently, and not only is she down-to-earth, hilarious, and great fun to have a glass of wine with, she’s also a first-class quizzer, a renowned porn reviewer, and a world-beating poker player. As host of Only Connect, she’s responsible for the greatest, and weirdest, intros/outros on TV. The contestants squirm, and she blatantly revels in it.
Christopher, Head of Client Services
My hero for International Women’s Day is Jacinda Ardern. Not only is she New Zealand’s youngest female Prime Minister, the first world leader to give birth in office in almost 30 years and the first world leader to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting WITH HER BABY, she is moving New Zealand forward. She is banning single use plastic bags, she is trying significantly to tackle climate change and is making some serious waves. The most amazing thing? She is doing this all while being a new parent! Her partner is being a stay-at-home dad so that she can run the country. I think the thing I love most about her is she is bringing kindness and empathy to politics. She actually cares about the people and is trying her hardest to do good for my fellow Kiwis.
Ruby, Production Coordinator
The woman I want to celebrate on International Women’s Day (and days before the Cheltenham Festival) is Bryony Frost. The daughter of a Grand National-winning jockey, it’s no surprise that she followed in her dad’s footsteps from a very early age, but her ascent to the very top of British jump racing by the age of 23 has been extraordinary. In one of the toughest and most dangerous sports she rides calmly and fearlessly, despite a catalogue of injuries and, in a sport dominated by male jockeys, has earned herself many recent big race rides for ten times champion trainer Paul Nicholls. Along with her growing string of successes in some of the most competitive races, she always rides with a smile on her face and shows an absolute passion for the sport and her horses as individuals to be coaxed into giving their best. An amazing young woman and a true inspiration.
Andy, Managing Director
The woman I want to celebrate on International Women’s Day. She’s not defined by conventions. She’s achieved everything on her own terms. She’s seemingly fearless. And I love her honesty. You feel she could sort out anything - maybe even Brexit!
Ruth, Creative Director
My icon for International Women’s Day is Kate Adie who I’ve admired since I was a young girl. To me, as an eight-year-old, she was inspirational. Witnessing this fiercely intelligent woman going to frontlines as a correspondent was so formative for me. I didn’t realise at the time how unique it was (and still is) to see a woman on my TV screen in this role.
Victoria, Design Director