The women that inspire the Versantus team
It’s International Women’s Day 2020 and over the past week we asked all of the team at Versantus to take a break from coding and cast their minds to the most influential and inspirational women in their lives. The brief was simple yet surprisingly difficult, (like trying to name just one all-time favourite song) we asked our team to nominate just one woman that they look up to.
We found the results truly fascinating and collating the information for this short video and blog post has been an enlightening and educational experience. From close relatives to canonised saints, this collection of amazing women are in our minds on this #internationalwomensday.
Ross & David
Civil rights activist
What Ross said:
“I think she’s inspirational because she made a stand for something in the face of great adversity and oppression, and ultimately proved that one person can influence change for the better democratically.”
Cristina & Rose
Dr Sue Black
Professor of computer science and technology evangelist
What Rose said:
I heard her speak at DrupalCon in Amsterdam in October and thought she was inspirational. Her talk was about 'If I can do it, so can you' and talked about how she had gone from being a single mum or 3 at 25 living in a Women's Refuge, put herself through night school and is now a professor of computer science, author of over 40 publications and an OBE. She has also set up two charities to support women in tech: BCSWomen, an online network for women in tech, and #techmums, a social enterprise that empowers mothers and their families through technology and she was instrumental in the campaign to help save Bletchley Park.
What Christina said:
“The reason why I admire her is because, first I relate to her story, second I am also a mum and I know how much courage and hard work you have to put in to become a woman in tech.
She left home and school at 16, had 3 children by the age of 23. Then left her husband and lived in a women refugee center with her kids.
As a single parent at 25 she had the strength to go to university, gained a degree in computing then a PhD in software engineering.
I believe there is great, underestimated potential in women. Even if it is 2020, you would be surprised at the number of girls and women that suffer because of the world of stereotypes.
Successful stories like the one of Dr Sue Black need to be told to inspire women to fight for themselves for a better, fairer future.”
What Christian said:
“I would like to nominate my mum, Christine Fitz-Gibbon. Not because she is my mum, but because I genuinely admire her. Christine Fitz-Gibbon continually impresses me with her resolve. Yet she exudes kindness and will go completely out of her way to help other people. Over the last couple of years she has suffered with a rare condition that has caused the skin on her hands and feet to split and bleed. The medication that she takes to help reduce the symptoms have caused her hair and eyelashes to fall out. Through all of this she continues to smile, keep up-beat and still helps other people. She also has to put up with my dad who can be quite hard work at times. On top of all this, she has also learned how to paint and craft. The results are amazing. My house is slowly becoming adorned with her artwork and it is really good. She brings light and life into people's lives and I don't think she really even knows it.”
Professional racing driver
What Pat said:
“As an F1 fan I am in admiration of anyone that can compete at this level. Jamie’s rise from an 11 year gold go-kart racer to 21year old champion with a shot being the first female F1 driver in over 43 years is extraordinary and truly inspirational. I look forward to seeing her give the male F1 drivers some serious competition!”
Writer, philosopher and advocate of women's rights
What Tabitha said:
“My role model of choice is Mary Wollstonecraft. She wrote The Vindication for the Rights of Women in the late 1700s, which, along with her other works, advocated for women’s rights and pushed for the better education of girls. She lived her life in line with her own beliefs and was remarkably ahead of her time."
What Andrew said:
“Not only is Nikki an extraordinary athlete who competes (and wins) at the highest level in some of the world’s toughest endurance races, her work to help people tackle depression through exercise is inspirational. She is an author, physiotherapist, athlete and social worker. Someone to really aspire to!”
What Nick said:
“Greta Thunberg does not sugar coat the world’s climate situation. Her belief in her words, passion in her message and her ability to deliver this bluntly t to an adult audience is impressive. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and Greta is successfully influencing global governments by saying the things politicians should have been saying for years: “We’re too late, we need to have done it yesterday, we need to be doing it big or we are all going to die. This is the adults breaking things for the children.” It’s really pleasing to see Greta doing this at such a young age, with no privilege - just courage to stand up for a better world.”
Lawyer, writer, first lady of the United States (2009 - 2017)
What Nick said:
“Michelle Obama is one of those inspirational characters whose effect on a global society will live on and on. As well as being an iconic first lady of the united states I admire her as an amazing wife to Barrack Obama, mother to her two children and good friend to some truly notable people. Her ongoing initiatives to encourage a healthy lifestyle in young people are inspirational.”
Stateswoman, UK prime minister from 1979 to 1990
What Tom said:
"Margaret Thatcher was not only a strong woman, she had the courage and determination to bring about a radical change to society which has embedded for generations. Subsequent prime ministers of the UK have never quite hit her mark!"
TV presenter, actress and UNFPA Ambassador
What Vitor said:
“Catarina, has been working as a TV presenter and actress for many years, and developing many projects related to women’s rights.
Catarina is considered the most credible person in Portugal, and is recognised throughout the country as a true inspiration for her work and generosity.”
Catholic nun and saint
What Mary said:
“There are lots of inspiring women in my life but the one that tops the list for me is Mother Teresa.
I admire her for her selflessness, humbleness, incomparable service and faith.”
Dame Zaha Hadid DBE
What Sam said:
"Zaha Hadid has changed the landscape of the world with amazing buildings that seem to defy physics and engineering. Her fluid design has inspired countless architects, industrial and product designers (myself included). Her iconic projects, such as the London Olympic Aquatics Centre change the vernacular of an area and influence the hearts and minds of people who interact with them in such a way that they trickle into the visual culture of a city and even a nation. To have Zaha’s influence in any medium is an aspiration worthy of any designer."
Actress and singer - also worked for NASA
What Roger said:
“I would like to nominate Nichelle Nichols - you might know her better as Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek. In an age when sexism and racism were sadly the norm, seeing a black woman in a leading role was a revelation. Nichelle inspired women to pursue careers that they might have otherwise never dreamed of, and in fact went on to work with NASA on a project that recruited Dr Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut.”