At Pegasus we are on a mission to Inspire Healthy Decisions, but who are the inspirational forces in our life? asks Helen Pattison on International Women’s Day.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by inspirational women all my life.
My mum was the first. She took every opportunity to celebrate equality and justice in its many forms.
She told me about books she’d read by Andrea Dworkin, Germaine Greer and Naomi Wolf; we talked about environmental issues (relatively unknown then beyond the use CFCs); and sat together and wrote letters on behalf of Amnesty International, helping the plights of seemingly faraway women and men and giving me an insight into parts of our world that weren’t quite as peaceful as South East London.
And my headteacher at school, Brigid Davies, was a consistent if not evangelical reminder to us girls of all that we could achieve. Strong role models of equality were heralded in front of us, and she even went as far as removing Domestic Sciences from the curriculum to stop us falling into female stereotype traps.
My friends have inspired me more than I can say over the years – whether through good advice or overcoming unbelievably difficult challenges in their own lives.
And now I get to work with an inspiring bunch of colleague at Pegasus, who (true to our behaviours) stand together at every opportunity – to deliver truly creative campaigns that set out to change behaviour in health for the better.
But if I had to pick one woman in my life who has been my inspiration, and continues to inspire me, it would have to be my 95 year-old grandmother, Irene Beatrice Adams.
At a young age, she went out to work to help bring up her five brothers and sisters, after her mum was left widowed from the First World War. She lived and worked in London through the Blitz, became a cook in a London city bank aged 22, where she worked 12 hours days while bringing up two children.
She first got on a plane aged 75, she learnt French aged 83, and last year she bought herself a Casio keyboard! She now has five grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren and is the toughest woman I know. She is also the most fascinating woman to talk to – she has strong opinions to say the least, but is always willing to learn and debate social and political issues.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have shared more stories of the female heroes in our lives, so have a look at our social channels to learn more.
And don’t forget to tell us who has been the most inspiring woman in your life.