We reckon it’s time to celebrate some of our most inspiring female role models
J.K. Rowling, 51
Not only did she write the hugely successful Harry Potter series that turned into a global bestseller and mega film franchise, but she did it while she was a struggling single mum. Impressive enough, but she is also known her campaigning for the rights of people across the world and in particular women – encouraging young girls to aspire for more and be proud of their intelligence. Oh, and she’s also pretty funny if you’ve ever seen her Twitter feed. We don’t fancy anyone’s chances of outwitting her…
Laura Trott, 24
Laura is now Britain’s most successful female athlete having won four gold Olympic cycling medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. That she’s achieved this incredible feat as a result of taking up cycling to overcome childhood asthma and being born prematurely with a collapsed lung makes us like her even more. Laura is full of inspiring words for women who don’t think they can be sporty but at the same time she doesn’t see being an ace sportswoman as incompatible with wearing dresses and make-up. “I’m a real girly girl, so the minute I’m not on the bike I make a real effort, even if I’m not going out. All made up, hair done.”
Michelle Obama, 53
As well as making inspiring speeches and looking effortlessly stylish the whole time, the former US First Lady has made it her mission to use her position to empower young women and help them understand the importance of an education. She also has a sense of humour doing press-ups with Ellen de Generes and singing with Missy Elliot and James Corden on Carpool Karaoke. No wonder there have been calls for her to stand as the next president of the USA!
Heather Keating, 25
After being diagnosed with cervical cancer, Heather’s story went viral on social media. Aged 24 years old she was too young to be offered a smear test (free to all women between the ages of 25 and 60) so her pre-cancerous cell changes were never picked up and her illness went undetected. But once she was diagnosed with the cancer, she shared her symptoms online to help others detect the signs early. By documenting her journey, Heather has helped to actually save lives.
Simone Biles, 20
The American artistic gymnast stunned the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning five gold medals – the first female gymnast to ever do that. An incredible achievement by anyone’s standards, but the fact that Simone did this despite her difficult upbringing is even more impressive. As a child, her mum had an alcohol and drug problem so she spent time in foster homes before being adopted by her grandparents. Plus unlike other gymnastic stars she never left home to practise with an exclusive, elite coach, but just rose to amazing heights at her local gym.
Nimko Ali, 33
Somalian-born Nimko, who spent much of her childhood in Manchester, has campaigned tirelessly to bring to an end FGM (female genital mutilation). She is a director and co-founder of the not for profit organisation Daughters of Eve which helps raise awareness and provide education about FGM to young women and girls. No wonder this feisty lady has won the respect of thousands of men and women across the globe.
Amy Schumer, 35
Famous for telling it like it is, comedian Amy doesn’t care if others don’t like her outspoken comments, what she does or how she looks. Trolls who try to silence her don’t stand a chance. Sassy, smart and clever – Amy gives her unique take on tough subjects like body shaming and gun violence – areas where many others fear to tread. Good on her!
Laura Kuenssberg, 40
During Brexit we began to think that the BBC Political correspondent never slept as she did epic shifts to report on the biggest story of 2016 and the political fallout that followed. So far this year, she has also been the one reporter to make Donald Trump squirm when she called him out on some of his more controversial policies at a joint press conference with Theresa May. Fearless.
None of the women featured in this article are in any way affiliated with HRA or ellaOne.