Women We Don’t Talk About Enough: Who We’re Celebrating this International Women’s Day

Posted on: 8 March 2024 by Mollie Hynes in 2024 posts

An image showcasing a banner that reads 'the future is female'

The theme for this International Woman's Day is 'Inspire Inclusion'. International Slavery MA student, Mollie Hynes, has written a blog that spotlights some of the lesser known achievements and successes from inspiring women across a variety of different fields.

This International Women’s Day is all about ‘Inspire Inclusion.’ Whether celebrating the women you know personally or someone in the public eye, this theme is perfect to think about those lesser known for their achievements and successes. From sports to science, in the past and the present, here are some examples of inspiring women you may not be familiar with to get you started…

PWHL: Making History in Ice Hockey

Where women in sports are often overlooked and underappreciated, the women of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) are pioneering change. The game between Toronto and Montreal last month became the most-watched professional women’s ice hockey game, selling out the Scotiabank Arena with an all-time high of 19,285 people. The turnout broke records of attendance seen at the Olympic Games. And attendance continues to climb! This is the positive change that a typically male-dominated sport needs to see, and these athletes are a great example of 2024’s campaign theme ‘Inspire Inclusion.’

HeLa100: The Henrietta Lacks Initiative

Perhaps one of the most unrecognised contributors to modern medicine, Henrietta Lacks went unacknowledged for far too many years. The discovery of HeLa cells – named after Lacks herself – was a breakthrough in cell research and pivotal in developing medical treatments and vaccinations. But Henrietta Lacks’ legacy remained untold. Sadly passing in 1951, at only 31 years old, medical practice at this time deemed it not necessary to gain consent from patients to use their cells for research. This meant Henrietta Lacks and her family were unaware of the global impact she had on science and medicine until 1975. Today, Henrietta Lacks continues to improve the lives of many who may never know who she was. To change this, the Lacks Family created the Henrietta Lacks Initiative to spread awareness of her impact. If you want to learn more, her story is told in a 2021 film adaptation of the book ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,’ starring Oprah Winfrey.

Sophie Hayes Foundation

The Sophie Hayes Foundation was founded in 2011, an organisation dedicated to providing survivors of human trafficking with the tools to live and work safely. Founded by Sophie, who bravely shared her own story of modern slavery, the Foundation exists to protect female survivors and raise awareness of the elusive nature of human trafficking. Based here in Liverpool, with offices now across the country, the impact of one woman’s story continues to positively change the lives of countless survivors worldwide. 

Activism and Intersectionality: Ida B. Wells

A name you may not immediately recognise as a key figure in the early civil rights movement, Ida B. Wells was instrumental in exposing the white racial violence that occurred across the US South. A key activist and journalist, Wells investigated the violence and injustice faced by Black men, raising awareness through publications in newspapers. As well as this, Wells was an active advocate for women’s rights, especially where African American women were excluded from white suffrage organisations. Tackling the intersectionality of racism and sexism, Wells continued to speak out against white violence and for Black women’s rights, whilst pioneering techniques of investigative reporting. These are incredible contributions to history which should be celebrated!

Happy International Women’s Day!