International Women’s Day – Time to Empower

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate women’s economic, social and political achievements. For those wondering why (or why there isn’t an International Men’s Day) –

I wanted to highlight some of the amazing women I know (and know of) – the work they do, the things they have achieved and the people they are – here’s four:

Dame Silvia Cartwright

Ex-Governor General of New Zealand and now one of the two international judges in the Trial Chamber of the Cambodia Tribunal, Dame Silvia is one of those women it’s hard not to look up to. She presided over an enquiry into cervical cancer and it’s treatment in NZ in the late 80s and served on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. She is clearly excellent at what she does, but more importantly has used those talents to help – for the greater good. For me that commands respect.

Julia Lalla Maharajh

During her time as a VSO volunteer in Ethiopia and Cambodia, Julia had much time to think and ponder women’s rights in the developing world. The things she saw spurred her into action and she created the End Female Genital Mutilation campaign to do what she could to end this brutal practice for women worldwide. She’s put so much passion and enthusiasm into this campaign that it’s been infectious and in January she won “The Davos Debates” on YouTube and ended up on stage talking about FGM at Davos. Her passion for justice and unerring certainty that she can make a difference inspires me daily.

Marnie Webb

Picking one woman in the tech scene has been difficult – I am loving the increasing women’s presence in the IT and digital industries. Marnie is the Co-CEO of TechSoup Global (The Technology Place for Nonprofits) and equally impressively the creator of NetSquared (allowing organisations with a focus on social benefits to better leverage the tools of the social web). I have found the work of these two companies so valuable over the last 12 months so she’s getting my IW Day respect for thinking about the importance of social web for the third sector.

Kathy Hastelow (nee Langton)

When I think about women I respect, Kathy is the top of my list. The three above are great, don’t get me wrong, but Kathy is a close friend and I have known her a long time so I’ve had ample opportunity to really understand her pure awesomeness. There is so much I could say here. She studies psychology full-time so that she may help others. She sews beautiful things (when her body allows it) like this fabulous mat for her daughter. She is honest about how she feels and I respect and love her for that. She, and her equally amazing husband Kyle, are raising their daughter in a way I can only hope to emulate if/when I have my own. She opens her home when far-gone friends (like moi) return home and is even happy to let them (despite everything she knows about their culinary skills) take over the kitchen. I am proud to call her a friend.

And here’s a video to finish us off with…

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