Throughout Black History Month we’ve been speaking to young women on our Advisory Panel about inspiration and role models. We asked 4 young women to name black women in history – or who are making history – and talk about why they are important to them. Here’s what they told us:
Facing adversity head on
Leanne on why she’s inspired by Katherine Johnson:
When I first watched the film Hidden Figures, I thought it was brilliant, but I did a bit of research and when I realised it was based on real women who worked at NASA in the 60s, I was amazed!
Katherine Johnson stood out to me for the way she fought to prove herself even when everything and everyone around her tried to say she wasn’t good enough because she was black and a woman. She proved that her skin colour and sex wasn’t a defining factor in her ability to complete her work at amazing levels and even above the levels of the white men and women employed specifically for that job. She faced the adversity head on, proved to everyone that she was extremely intelligent, resilient and even though she got pushed down she fought back harder.
It makes me feel that if she can succeed through all of that then if I really put my mind to something, maybe I have a chance of succeeding as well.
Entrepreneurship and determination
Emirah, 21 who has a passion for business and education, on Dana Chanel:
Dana Chanel is a social influencer who has inspired many young black women with her entrepreneurship and determination to help people across the world through her innovative ideas.
As a passionate young black Christian woman like Dana, I look to her as someone to learn from and she shows me that nothing is impossible. We are powerful women, each one of us and we should be proud of the skin we are in.
Embrace every part of your life
Tayah, 21 a working mum working towards a career in the major crime investigation unit, talk about Iyanla Vanzant:
Iyanla Vanzant, writer and inspirational public speaker, inspires me because she encourages me to embrace every part of my life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Iyanla Vanzant teaches that there is opportunity for growth and inspiration in every situation.
This quote from Iyanla resonates with me:
“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.”
Iyanla prepares me to face whatever the future may hold because the tools I need are inside of me.
Role models close to home
Sophia Moreau, student and campaigner, on Jackie Kay:
Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet and novelist who showed me that you can be, feminist, Black, a lesbian, communist and Scottish without it being a contradiction. She’s important for me because we don’t have as much access to British women’s literature and history, especially Black British women. She’s brilliant and I admire her in terms of both her political beliefs and values and the quality of her work. It’s important to see role models close to home.
We’re building a diverse and inclusive movement of young women, firing their imaginations and raising their voices to challenge discrimination and inequality. Join us.