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06 March 2015

Celebrating International Women's Day with inspirational women

In celebration of International Women's Day on Sunday, 8 March, we have asked Evangelical Alliance staff, friends and supporters to tell us about the woman who has most inspired them. From family, friends to famous role models, we celebrate some amazing women from around the world. Who is the woman who has most inspired you? Join the conversation below or on Twitter, by sending a tweet to @EAUKnews with the hashtag #IWD2015.

Chine"I can't name just one woman because I'm surrounded by inspiring women - from the amazing women in my own family: my mum, sisters and many, many aunties who are wise, loving homemakers, storytellers and barrier-breakers. There are also the dedicated, hard-working and creative women I'm honoured to work with every day. And then there are my friends: mighty women of valour who strive for excellence, who laugh with me, cry with me, cheer me on and hold me to account. I'm so honoured to know so many inspiring women."
Chine Mbubaegbu
Director of communications at the Evangelical Alliance

"A great number of women: writers, teachers, preachers and artists have left positive and indelible marks on my life. Some of these are very publicPhyllis Thompson figures with loud voices, while others spoke and still speak their truth, wisdom, love, grace, and compassion to me in unassuming quiet tones. My dear mother is one of these. She continues to inspire me to celebrate myself and others as complementary rather than competing individuals. I believe that is why I have so many great women friends whose shouts of approval cheer me on to live life in abundance."
Phyllis Thompson
Education director of the New Testament Church of God 

Amelia"My mentor LoriAnn is an inspiring example of a godly women of integrity who has achieved great success in the business world while keeping her faith at the centre of who she is and all she does. Her character, work ethic and daily habits reflect discipline, intentionality, grace and compassion. But above all they reflect a woman who is confident and committed in walking the journey God has called her to. She continually inspires me, challenges me and encourages me not only in the conversations we have &the advice she gives but most importantly in her example of a life well lived."
Amelia Abplanalp
Public policy officer of the Evangelical Alliance

"When considering history's most inspirational women, one cannot fail to recollect Rosa Parks and her incredibly courageous act on 1 December 1955Manoj when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Parks' act of defiance illustrates how an ordinary person with a passion for justice is able to have tremendous impact, in this case on the civil rights movement. There will have been many who would have thought about doing what Rosa Parks did, but for one reason or another failed to go through with it. After all there were consequences for such a defiant act. Rosa knew this, but she also knew that she had no other option but to stand for what she felt was right in the hope that somehow her individual stand could make a difference. And a difference it certainly made by giving courage to others to also campaign for racial equality. For me, Mother Theresa's reflection on the importance of 'participation' best sums up the significance of Rosa Parks, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
Manoj Raithatha
National coordinator of the South Asian Forum

Phoebe Thompson"Gladys Aylward is much like many missionaries. She was called by God to travel to China and spend the entirety of her life spreading the good news in the mountainous provinces of a largely unreached land, and later in Taiwan. She did the missionary thing before it was a 'thing', travelling alone as an unmarried young woman in the early 1900s, bucking every social norm imaginable. What strikes me most about Gladys is the matter of fact manner with which she gets on with it. In her biographical account The Small Woman, she's asked to do something by God and she goes and does it. No inner turmoil. No hums and ha's. No sense of woe is me. Just a simple and beautiful obedience to God and a compulsion to act on her conviction. At times her story reads a bit like accounts of the apostles in Acts: "The angel of the Lord said to him, 'Go down south.' So they went." (8:26). And, just like the story of Acts in which the early Church grows exponentially due to the missionary zeal of a few, the Church in China is currently the fastest growing in the world. I wonder how much of that could be down to Gladys, and others like her." 
Phoebe Thompson
Editor of Youthwork Magazine and Childrenswork Magazine

"There is an amazing group of women at my small church in King's Cross who come from a whole range of backgrounds, of all different ages andKatherine Maxwell Cook ethnicities. Some have had pretty have had pretty tough lives. They inspire me to be braver, and fight harder when the going gets tough. They give freely, sharing what they have and serve until they can barely stand up any longer. Family, friendship and encouragement are their heartbeat. Their faith and passion for Jesus takes anything that is thrown at it;when I'm with them, they make me feel like a better person."  
Katherine Maxwell-Cook
Editor of Rhythms

Steve Clifford"I met Nancy in her four metre square shack which is part of the Kibera slum in Nairobi (the largest slum in Africa).  Surrounded by children, none of them her own, this woman was making a life for herself, her husband and her wider family in an extremely difficult situation.  For me, Nancy's quiet dignity represents one of the hundreds of millions of unsung heroes, women around the world who refuse to be defined by what they haven't got but get on, taking responsibility for children, family and a wider community.  Where would the world be were it not for women like Nancy?"
Steve Clif
General director of the Evangelical Alliance