It is not every day that I get called an inspirational woman. Largely, I suspect, this is on account of me being a 32 year-old man. With a beard. But this week, a fellow twitteree (twitterer?) was kind enough to add me to their list of inspiring women.
“Why?” you may well ask.
In truth, there is a very simple explanation for this and I think it is probably all down to a slip of the keyboard. I had recently retweeted this tweet from a fellow Devonian blogger, and I am sure that it was really Liz Oldershaw who deserves a place on the Inspiring Women list, not me.
So, despite my own somewhat suspect inclusion on the above list, and much as the University of Exeter has done, why not take the opportunity to remind ourselves of the many inspiring women all around us?
In the week that Jessica Ennis-Hill, one of the many inspiring athletes from the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, announced her return to competition we also saw Sarah Storey win the 500m time-trial at the para-cycling World Championships, Lydia Ko become golf’s youngest ever world number one and Bethany Firth set a new world record for the SB14 100m breaststroke and then set a new world record twice in the SB14 200m breaststroke event a day later. And those are just the headlines that caught my attention on BBC Sport this week (admittedly, Ko’s rise to the top wasn’t this week, but it had passed me by until now; I really struggle to get excited by golf I’m afraid).
It doesn’t feel right to mention Jessica Ennis-Hill without also remembering back a few weeks to the excitement of Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s gold medal in Prague. Who can resist being excited about their future rivalry?
In team competitions, football’s Women’s Super League kicked off this week with a surprise defeat for Liverpool to Sunderland. And it wasn’t just the Irish men that claimed Six Nations glory this year; the Women’s Six Nations title also went to Ireland.
Outside of sport, it was a relief that at least one person on 5 Live remembered to add some women into the mix for their long list of potential replacements for Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear, even if it was a bit of an afterthought. Their suggestions? Suzi Perry, Claire Balding, Julia Bradbury, Jennie Gow and Davina McCall (it’s around 02:25:00 in this programme, if you fancy a listen).
The Inspiring the Future – Inspiring Women campaign is an initiative to get women from a range of occupations into schools to talk to students about their roles and how they got to where they are today. And on a more global scale, for our celebrity-obsessed times, some inspiring work is being done by Emma Watson through the HeForShe campaign, Angelina Jolie’s work with the UN Refugee Agency, plus her openness about her recent medical issues, and Emma Thompson’s involvement with ActionAid. Again, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Who has inspired you recently? Female, male, animal; all recommendations are welcomed.