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The most courageous women in history



On International Women’s Day, account executive, Rebecca, identifies some of the most courageous women in history.

Throughout history, women have fought courageously and tirelessly to assert themselves as equals whether that’s pay, opportunity, or even the ability to vote. So ahead of International Women’s Day, and 100 years since the suffrage we look at women who are far from equal – they are innovators, leaders and inspirations. Their achievements have led the way for other women to stand up for what they believe in, and share their opinions, showing others that their voice needs to be heard. 

Florence Nightingale

To light the way for the rest, I decided it was only fitting that Florence Nightingale was mentioned first. The lady with the lamp has transformed nursing as we know it. Florence is the founder of modern nursing, her greatest achievement was transforming nursing into a respectable profession. She established the first professional training school for nurses, the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital and her perseverance when told she wasn’t good enough didn’t stop her. Her attitude is something which can inspire us all, to keep pushing ourselves to achieve our dreams. 

Emmeline Pankhurst

Like many suffragettes, Emmeline was arrested on numerous occasions throughout the suffrage campaign, and even went on hunger strike, resulting in a violent force-feeding. She managed to organise one of the first women’s marches, targeting the main state institution, the British Parliament, to celebrate the release of activists from prison. It’s hard to believe that women suffered so much for the right to vote, but I’m proud that it’s a woman from Moss Side who paved the way for the rest of us. 

Malala Yousafzai

Malala is one of the bravest women in the Middle East’s history, she grew up in a poor family and had to witness horrendous mistreatment of her family, who suffered under Taliban coercive. She was only in her teens when she became an advocate for the rights of her people to get a proper education. When her campaigning gained momentum, and media coverage, it led to her shooting, which thankfully she survived. Despite this attack Malala continued to battle for education for Pakistani girls and she is now recognised as one of the bravest women in world history, and has even been awarded the Nobel Prize for her activities.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia, once said: ‘Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.’ Amelia was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean back in 1928. Amelia also joined ‘The Ninety-Nines’, an organisation of female pilots who joined together to encourage women in aviation. In the end, Amelia disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during a flight and was never found. But her passion to encourage women to reach their goals and prove that women and men should be equal will always live on. 

Dame Kelly Holmes

When looking back at Dame Kelly Holme’s history she has had a diverse career. She only became a professional athlete at the age of 29, before this she had worked in shops, as a carer, and an army lorry driver. At the 2004 Olympics, she became the first Briton in 84 years to receive a gold medal for both the 800m and 1500m, from this success she became a Dame. Her grit and determination shows that you should never give up on your dreams, persistence and hard work is key, and it’s never too late to achieve your goals.

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The changes to the lives of women over the past 100 years



As International Women’s Day draws closer, you may have noticed phrases such as, ‘inspirational women’ crop up in a few of our blog posts. Here at Refresh PR we want to celebrate the determination of the suffragette movement, who 100 years ago changed the course of history, for women and men, forever.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed, allowing women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. This only represented 40 per cent of the total population of women in the UK, but it was a step in the right direction.

After lots more steps in the right direction, I want to delve back in time and look at key aspects that have changed for women in the UK over the past 100 years, thanks to the suffragette movement.

We’ve broken into government: Not only was 1918 the year some women gained the vote, it was also the year that the first female MP was elected. As an Irish republican, Constance Markievicz chose not to join the Commons. However, the following year Nancy Astor took her seat. According to BBC News, the 2017 election saw the number of female MPs in parliament increase from 191 in 2015, to 208 in 2017. Furthermore, we’ve had two female Prime Ministers and the first female Scottish minister. Where women in politics will take us in 2018 and beyond, remains to be seen. But with more and more young females becoming involved in the movement, perhaps our third female Prime Minister is already be in the making.

We’ve taken control of our relationships: Recent weeks have shown just how courageous women can be. The #MeToo movement, which has swept the globe, mobilised by social media, has enabled the voices of women who have experienced the most traumatic situations at the hands of men across the world, and across a variety of industries, to be heard. The last 100 years has seen divorce lose its stigma and crimes such as domestic violence and stalking are finally taken seriously in both the law and media.  

We’re educated to degree level – 100 years ago, a woman’s career options were extremely limited. Many women were housewives with no prospect of gaining a career. Today we see women given the choice to embark on further and higher education, with millions educated to degree level. Women are doctors and business owners, head up construction firms and run accountancy practices. A glass ceiling is still in place in many industries, but with more women on boards than ever before, we’re definitely heading in the right direction.

One thing is for certain; 100 years ago, the all girl team that make up today’s Refresh PR wouldn’t have existed. We wouldn’t have been around to help raise the reputation of growing UK business, help in times of crisis, create innovative campaigns and advise our clients on where to take their businesses.

Don’t take women for granted. If you believe your business may need a bit of extra guidance, feel free to contact us on – 0161 871 1188.

 

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Refresh’s Inspiration



There’s a lot of talented women at Refresh PR. With a combined 50 years’ experience in the industry, it’s safe to say we know our stuff. As a team, we bring out the best in each other, and when working collectively, we generate PR campaigns that achieve great results for our clients.

As an all female agency, we’re always looking to channel girl power, so in honour of International Women’s Day, I asked the team at Refresh to tell me about women who inspire them.

Our head of B2B, Erin, is never one to conform, and her inspiration reflects this perfectly. She said:

“The author and columnist, Caitlin Moran – she’s really socially intelligent, probably due to having a challenging upbringing, but doesn’t apologise for herself, she embraces everything she is and if people don’t like it, well frankly, they can go to hell.

“She inspires other young women to feel the same way, teaching self-acceptance in her books, including ‘How to be a Woman’. Additionally, takes no nonsense from anyone who is a bit of a silly idiot – latest example was her challenge on Piers Morgan after his interview with Trump.

“Her writing has a huge amount of flair, and is so honest – she reinforced my love of writing and reading, because I realised it is okay to write what you want to write, and not conform to what other people think you should be writing.”

We clearly have Caitlin to thank for Erin’s ability to create persuasive arguments and write for our clients with passion.

Our head of consumer PR, Caroline, doesn’t let anything phase her and can generate fantastic results, often in the face of adversity, so her inspirational women, Serena Williams, makes total sense. Caroline said: “She is an absolute sporting legend and has shown that you don’t have to slow down just because she’s a mum. She won the Australian Open while pregnant and returned to the game just four months after giving birth.”

Account executive, Rebecca, is always willing to go out of her way and lend a helping hand and admires Katie Piper’s philanthropy and commitment to help others: “Despite everything she has been through, Katie has helped others to combat their own body issues, giving them a new found confidence. She has turned a horrific situation into a positive by giving strangers the confidence to believe they can achieve their dreams too.”

Following the Manchester attack last May, Ariana Grande’s support for the city has made her an honorary Manc, with Morecambe based account executive Emily, taking that role for Refresh: “After the Manchester bombing last year, the world saw Ariana Grande in a new light. She was no longer just a pop star, but the face of a campaign that united a city. Only in her early twenties, I think we all try and channel her strength and composure.”

Me personally, I derive inspiration from a range of people. From Beyonce to RuPaul; Meryl Streep to Malala Yousafzai, anyone that grabs life by the reins and uses their platform to spread a positive message is an inspiration in my book.

Throughout the week, Refresh PR is honoring International Women’s Day by a series of blogs, so keep an eye out for more posts about inspiring women. 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Celebrity, International Women's Day, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations