Happy International Women’s Day! Meet 9 Women that Inspire Us to No End

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!!! On this very day in 1909, over a century ago, thousands of women came together and marched fervently in New York in the name of equality and women’s rights. This has always been a very important day in history. And because of all the strong women in the world that have recently come to the forefront to tell their stories, this day feels a bit different than it did last March and even more elevated this year than ever before.

International Women’s Day (IWD) falls on March 8th every year, and although I’ve always known the significance of this day, it was only a handful of years ago that I learned the true details of this remarkably important day – when my fiancé told me that IWD has always been a big day for his family, ever since he was little. “It is widely celebrated in Europe by both women and men of all ages,” he said. After we discussed the deeper meaning, we have been celebrating it together ever since. I’ve learned this is a day to honor the women in your life that you love and cherish. This is a day to celebrate women all around the world that inspire you. And mainly, this is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, personal, and political achievement of women.

This year at Wit & Delight we want to highlight the women that are inspiring us beyond the norm. These are women that touch our hearts and souls with their passion, rawness, strength, authenticity, bravery, and achievement. They make us feel insanely proud to be a woman, they inspire us to stand up for what we believe in. They provoke us to tell our own stories, follow our dreams wholeheartedly and encourage us to pursue our passions without fear. These are women that lift one another up, so we can all sit at the table together.

In celebration of IWD, I asked the entire W&D team, “Who are the women that inspire you to no end?” and these are the nine inspirational women we came up with!


“After I saw Lady Bird, I felt breathless… mostly because I held my breath through the entire movie. Lady Bird made me realize how few films have been made that reflect an experience I’ve shared with the writer. I’ve loved movies staring Greta Gerwing herself but watching her direct every aspect of Lady Bird through her own eyes was powerful in a way you feel in your bones. I hope Greta’s success is a signal of a shift in appetite for a wider range of diverse experiences being shared on a global scale. Even if we learn what its like to walk in each other’s shoes for even just a little bit, maybe we’ll find it easier to have empathy and respect for the different experiences and challenges we face out in the world.” – Kate


“I’ve been working in digital/social media for almost ten years now, so when I find someone like Jamie Beck of Anne Street Studio on the internet, it’s hard not to fall head over heels with not only her work, but her grace and strength in everything she puts out into the world. It’s been inspiring to follow her work as it has evolved over time, and I’m particularly inspired by her residency in France. I find that watching her work through her photography still life sets inspires me to focus more on the joy of making when it comes to my work.” – Kate

“You may have seen Frances McDormand’s speech at the Oscars last Sunday after she was awarded the Oscar for Best Performing Actress in a Leading Role. If not, I’m sure you heard about it. Her speech started with the usual “thank yous” but ended with a rousing call to tell new stories. Her inclusion of other women was inspiring. The way she used a platform and an opportunity to encourage women in power to help those without is incredible. It’s heartening to watch women support other women, and not tear them down. ‘We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,’ Frances said. ‘I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.'” – Bridgette

“A little more close to home is, Nora McInerny. This woman has turned the curveballs that life has thrown at her, into opportunity. She writes, she produces podcasts, she runs a non-profit (Still Kickin), she has a family. She must be incredibly exhausted at all times, but still exudes a sense of humor and an intensely down-to-earth, friendly personality that is so inspiring.” – Bridgette

Ava DuVernay is making history and inspiring people everywhere as the first woman of color to direct a 100 million dollar film. In her recent interview with NBC, she calls her adaptation of the popular children’s book a Wrinkle in Time, ‘a love letter to black girls everywhere.’ Before The Princess and the Frog was released in 2009, there were no black Disney princesses, and Ava DuVernay made a very important point when she said, ‘There weren’t any Disney heroines who looked like me and Storm when I was a little girl.’ I love this interview with NBC News, where she explains the importance of making a Wrinkle in Time and how it can make a positive impact on young girls and boys, especially children of color. ‘It is a story for young people; it’s for kids, and it’s for the kid inside of us,’ she said. What an inspiration, I can’t wait to watch this movie with my niece when it comes out!” – Stefani

“As a Minnesotan woman, I was so proud to learn that Ilhan Omar was elected to office in 2016. As the first Somali-American Muslim legislator elected in the U.S., Omar acts as the Director of Policy and the Women Organizing Women Network. She represents district MN-60B which covers the University of Minnesota and the surrounding area in Minneapolis. A former refugee, and a mother of three, Omar acts as a strong women’s voice for the people. I also found it so inspiring that one of Minnesota’s very own was featured on the cover of Time magazine last year as one of the 46 women that are breaking barriers and changing the world.” – Stefani

“17-year-old, Chloe Kim, inspired young girls (and women) everywhere during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics when she made history being the first and youngest female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080 degree spins in the halfpipe competition. I think she’s a total badass because she is fearless and does what she wants (e.g. tweeting during the competition) and she doesn’t care what other people think of her. She’s even getting her very own Barbie doll just in time for International Women’s Day.” – Francine

“When I think of women I admire and look up to, it has always been Joan Didion. I love that she says (or writes) what’s on her mind and doesn’t apologize if it’s too raw or too direct. She also writes about California in a way that makes me feel at home and understood. If you haven’t yet seen her recent Netflix documentary, The Center Will Not Hold, it is a must!” – Francine

“Back in 2016, Sara Blakely, the founder of SPANX, did a podcast with Guy Raz titled “How I Built This.” And I highly recommend listening to this! I felt so inspired by Sara and her unique entrepreneurial spirit. I love that she is incredibly driven but at the same time very rational; her personality and perseverance are so empowering. After experiencing nearly a decade of failure and rejection she overcame each and every obstacle and created a billion dollar company. – Bridget

Cheers to strong women everywhere, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!

What does International Women’s Day mean to you and how are you celebrating today? Are you wearing purple?! We would love to hear your stories and learn more about which women inspire you in the comments below!

Top graphic by W&D / Image 2


Stefani Ellenbecker is the Editorial Director at Wit & Delight. When she’s not feverishly editing or writing about style and interiors, she runs her bohemian shop  Arden Trading Co. where she sells artisan-made home goods. She lives in Minneapolis with her fiancé Muhamed.

 

  • I wrote today about one of my favorite poets, Anne Sexton, and what I learned about her life recently that made me stop and wonder if I can admire her poetry but not, necessarily, her person. Isn’t it complicated when we learn that someone we admired was also, ultimately, human and flawed, sometimes in hard-to-forgive or understand ways? So many of the women I admire in my own life have overcome incredible hardship (sometimes at their own hand) and gone on to live extraordinary lives. Some of those lives are quiet lives but no less important. Happy International Women’s Day.

    • Amy, I definitely can relate to what you are saying. Also, I clicked into your blog and love your writing! Would you be interested in contributing to W&D sometime? If so, shoot me an email at stefani@witanddelight.com We would love to feature you as a writer!