So then, it seemed only right to write about women today and so I want to highlight just a few of the women who have inspired me in my life so far (I will be tweeting these and more at @redjules )
My Auntie Sarah - although I'm sad that I haven't seen her for a long time, Sarah was another person who got me thinking about women's status from a young age. She had (and I suspect still has!) ambition and drive to study and learn more in her field and is now a Senior Lecturer in the History department at Goldsmiths, London. I'm not sure that my family always approved of her but I secretly looked up to her and loved that she knew what she wanted to do and just got on with it. When I got pregnant and became a single parent, she visited me in the hospital and I have always remembered that she was so supportive when others weren't. I'm not sure I ever really thanked her for that - so Sarah, thank you :)
Yvrose Telfort - Yvrose runs Hope House School & Orphanage in rural Haiti with her husband Pierre Richard and is quite simply a legend! She gave up her nice, safe and well paid teaching job in the US to go to Haiti and help those in need. After the earthquake she took in children whose parents had died and also began a school for the poorest kids in the area. They live by faith, relying on God for their daily needs and yet have such an amazing faith that he will provide, even in the most hopeless of circumstances. She has turned around the lives of so many children in Haiti and impacted huge numbers of adults with her determination and unwavering faith.
Heidi Baker - if you have not come across Heidi Baker do look her up. With her husband Rolland she runs Iris Ministries in Mozambique. She felt Gods calling to go there years ago and in her time there has suffered great hardship and persecution and yet, like Yvrose, has such amazing faith and trust in God. She has impacted thousands of people, and has planted hundreds of churches in her time in Mozambique. God is using her to transform the entire nation.
Nikki M - my lovely friend Nikki is one of the nicest people you could meet. She is just one of those people that the love of Jesus shines out from. She's supportive, loving, giving and I really value her friendship.
Nix - I didn't know Nix that well but we were friends, and watching her battle with the dreaded cancer was awful but at the same time so inspiring. I never saw her complain about the illness or her pain and throughout it all she continued to bless those around her. I went to pray with her a few times and I always came away feeling more blessed myself as she insisted on asking how I was and wanting to pray for me. She was always interested in other people and how she could help them. Even as she approached the end she was full of hope and love, and her faith in the face of it all was frankly astounding.
In the bible - Esther & Ruth
I love the story of Esther, even though there are distinct features of misogyny! She uses her position to save her people, in the face of fear and a real possibility of death. She is an example of great courage and being a strong women in a society that commanded women to be subservient and allowed them very little.
And Ruth, a wonderful example of great loyalty as she stands by her mother in law after the death of her husband.
These are just a few of the women who have impacted my life in one way or another. Who has impacted you? Check out my Twitter feed as I tweet these and more throughout the day...