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07 March 2014

Celebrating inspiring women

To mark International Women's Day tomorrow, a variety of people share about a woman who inspires them…

Wendy bw

"One of the most inspirational women I know is Jenny Baker.   We have been friends for years and met while working for Youth for Christ.  Later I had the privilege to work alongside Jenny on a project which essentially made us 'live in each other's pockets' for a year.  The more I got to know her the more inspired I was by her commitment to equality, to integrity and to cheering other women leaders on.  In a culture that can create competition between women, Jenny's absolute commitment to generous equality is a refreshing and much needed change."
Wendy Beech-Ward, events and ambassadors director at Compassion UK

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
ford, general director, Evangelical Alliance


"Ann-Marie Wilson inspires me tremendously. She first came across female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2005 when she was working for a medical relief agency in Sudan. She spent the next five years studying and gaining experience in that field before founding 28 Too Many in 2010 to address FGM across Africa and the diaspora. She is a determined, respected and fearless campaigner who is bringing about change."
Jenny Baker, co-founder of the Sophia Network and staff member at Church Urban Fund


"Fran is a blessing to those fortunate enough to cross her path. She exudes compassion, kindness, warmth and joy. Mother to five of the coolest kids I know they are testament to her unwavering devotion as a mother. Her deep faith in God, strength and love has seen me through tough times and goods times. I'm blessed to call her a friend and my life is so much richer because of her."
Amelia Abplanalp, public policy officer, Evangelical Alliance


"I have to honestly say my mum inspires me the most. She is someone who truly thinks of others more than herself and has great compassion and care for people. In our neighbourhood in Ibadan, Nigeria, people know they can turn to her for help and she is always so generous. Growing up she made sure my siblings and I lived right, and even sold her car so I could afford to go to university."
Israel Olofinjana, pastor of Woolwich Central Baptist


"I love people who set their whole lives to change one specific issue. Aparajita Gogoi is Coordinator of the White Ribbon Alliance in India and has campaigned for simple solutions for safer motherhood. Particularly good at spotting nonsensical rules, she changed the law to allow village nurses to perform childbirth procedures - previously something only (mostly city-based) doctors could do. Effective simplicity is very inspirational."
Vikki Mchlachlan, head of operations, Micah Challenge

Chine Mbubaegbu

"I recently went to Nigeria to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday in the totally over-the-top way that our people love to do: hundreds at the party, lots of food, dancing, speeches and even a thanksgiving church service. I admire my grandma so much - she became a widow in the 1970s in post-civil war Nigeria and brought up seven children who are now doing amazingly around the world. To me she symbolises grace, beauty, vivacity and family."
Chine Mbubaegbu, author, head of media & communications, Evangelical Alliance 

Krish Kandiah"Like millions around the world I have been inspired by Malala. As a young woman she exhibits incredible amounts of courage, she stands up for the rights of others and does so with humility and grace. She had my vote for the Nobel peace prize this year!"
Krish Kandiah, director of churches in mission and England, Evangelical Alliance