International Women's Day 2021 - The women who inspire us


March 2021

International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year around the world. It is a focal point in the movement FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1977.

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While circumstances are different this year, it’s still a day to celebrate women around the world, their achievements and raise awareness about women’s equality, and more.  We at Mason Advisory are committed to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.

This year’s IWD day theme is #ChooseToChallenge which is pledging commitment to challenge inequality with a hand up picture. We had such a great response from the team, we couldn’t fit them all in the short video so here they are below pledging their commitment and telling us about the women who inspire them.

Jasmin Paris – Jasmin is a British fell runner whose achievements will make your eyes water and legs ache. She has broken numerous ultrarunning records, at one point simultaneously holding the fastest female record for the Bob Graham, Paddy Buckley and Ramsay Round (look them up – I feel tired just thinking about them). Her time for the Ramsey Round wasn’t just the fastest female time, it was also the fastest known time full stop! In 2019 she set a new record for the Spine Race which covers the whole Pennine Way finishing 268 miles in winter in 83 hours and 12 minutes and 23 seconds. She was the first woman to win the race outright and beat the previous record by almost 12 hours and the previous female record by almost 27 hours. What makes this achievement even more amazing is that she did so expressing milk for her baby at aid stations along the route. When she isn’t, quite literally giving everyone a run for their money, she works as a small animal vet.

She is an incredible example of gender equality through action, a truly inspirational woman, and a lovely human being to boot.

Emma Rettig


Maya Angelou – “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”


Bhavn Khaira


Inspiration can come from everywhere and from anyone. No one is too young or old to inspire someone else. But for me, nothing beats the inspiration I’ve got from these women:

  • The woman I call my grandmother – She happens not to be my mother’s biological mother but raised my mother and raised me. Sacrificed a lot for my mother and I, to have the best we could. My mother was a young mum who didn’t have a clue. But this woman looked after a “baby” with “her baby”
  • Kamala Harris – As black woman, seeing other fellow black and minority women achieve what they have achieved, is an inspiration. I might not aspire to be VP, but something drives me to achieve the best I can, and that comes from this woman’s inspiration.
  • Abby Philip – 32-year-old CNN journalist. Anything is in our reach if we work hard for it. No platform is too big for a woman who is determined.

PS – Let’s not forget the ladies I work with. You women are all amazing. We have kept each other going throughout this pandemic. Can’t thank you enough.

Stella Rebecca Ezechi



Most women are inspiring to battle the world of equality, which continues today all over the world. Things have improved for many, but equality across the world is shocking.

There are some many through the ages so here’s a quick reflection on stories that I’ve witnessed, seen at the sea, or watch in a movie:

  • Suzann Pettersen, after 18 months of golf with birth of her first child came back from retirement for 1 tournament and play in the Solheim Cup, Sept 2019 to sink the last putt and win the Cup for Europe. What a women.
  • Mary Anning an unsung hero for fossils, plus the subject of the old tongue-twister, “She sells sea shells on the sea shore.” (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world.
  • Rosa Parks, stood up for discrimination as a civil rights activist and ‘Mother of the Movement’. ‘Each person must live their life as a model for others’. Parks showed this when she refused to give up her seat for a white man, which sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott – an important symbol of the civil rights movement.

Rob Watkins


My wife and our two wonderful daughters inspire me.  Throughout the pandemic my wife has worked tirelessly supporting children at school and our daughters have adapted so well to remote learning and continued to work diligently.  Let’s end inequality and ensure everyone has a fair future.

Andy Noy


The women who inspire me first and foremost have to be the women in my family and immediate support network. The generations before me (such as my mother and grandmother) have had an incredibly challenging journey but have been relentless in achieving greatness despite these hurdles. All of which has paved the way for myself and future generations.  Throughout the course of my career I’ve also had the absolute pleasure of working with some remarkable women who are leaders, support pillars and everyday heroes. The inspirations ranges from:

  • Managing a full-time job, whilst home schooling as a single mother during a Global Pandemic
  • Leading communities to come together (virtually) to support larger networks
  • The ability to fundamentally develop wellbeing, health and growth whilst challenging the status quo
  • Being able to get up every day and overcome demons of all sizes

The inspiration continues daily as the ladies I work with at Mason Advisory are truly brilliant, offering new ambitions and solutions with every engagement, no matter how big or small the challenge!

Sammy Allanson


I’m inspired by Elizabeth Friedman who is widely recognised as America’s first female cryptanalyst.

She played an important role in codebreaking during World War II, however many people haven’t heard of her until files were declassified just over a decade ago.

During that time, her successes were not attributed to her and she faced a number of barriers associated with being a woman, yet she continued to contribute significantly to her field of expertise.

Ben Chamberlain



The women that inspire me are my three sisters who are all key workers and risk their lives every single day, I’m so proud of them.  Secondly are the women I work with, during the pandemic we’ve been having regular catch up and without these women I really don’t know what I would have done during this pandemic.  I’m so honoured to have such amazing inspiring women in my life

Bridie Douglas


One of my favourite quotes: “from HER Kings are born”.  An inspirational woman for 2021: Nodeep Kaur.

For context the largest protest in the world is taking place in India right now. The government passed 3 Farm bills, that Farmers believe will destroy their livelihood.

  • She is a Dalit – the lowest caste in India labelled the untouchable class (you can only imagine how hard life is)
  • She is an activist for people of her caste, women, and labourers (majority of whom work on Farms).
  • She was taken by Delhi police in January beaten and mistreated in custody in the worst way possible (see image below).
  • She was denied bail many times, custody extended on false claims. With the help of human rights lawyers and international pressure she was recently released on bail and went straight back to the protest site, gave an inspiring speech and swore to carry on fighting for the rights of women.
  • An absolute inspiration. She has shown incredible courage. Her strength is extraordinary

Jagjeet Pandha


Being a retained firefighter takes some commitment – add to that, that here in Hartley Wintney our firefighters are also first responders so help save lives and not just put out fires or attend road traffic accidents.  Becky Wallis and Penny Ewbank made history last week when they were the first all-female crew attending a local heath fire – they have worked incredibly hard and achieved so much to break down the stereotypes that often exist.  Ladies, I salute you!

Duncan Swan


My next-door neighbour, Karen smith. Single mother of 2 young girls and springer spaniel, Buster. Also, an NHS key worker. The house is immaculate, the kids are immaculate, happy, polite and never miss school and Karen never misses a day at work and is always smiling and has time for a friendly hello. Young Buster gets the legs walked off him and a good ‘mud daddying’ every single day. Her energy is just boundless and I’m in awe of her.

Well done Karen Smith, you’re a star!

Allan Jackson


Katie Piper; seeing the horror she suffered as a young girl is still enough to make me weep but seeing the way she came through it to become a strong and beautiful woman still makes me smile

Kevin Lund



I’d like to give a shout out to my friend Katherine Griffith.  Ten years ago Katherine, her husband Steve and two young children left the comfort of a middle class life to live in a mud brick hut and work in one of the poorest orphanages in Uganda.  Three years ago Steve sadly died from Sepsis shortly after they had adopted one of the orphans into their own family.  Katherine never wavered in her commitment to the children they cared for and continued to serve the children with strength, faith and courage.  Katherine your sacrifice and passion for the poor inspire me.

 Alan Capewell



 #Equality #IWD2021 #equalopportunities