International Women's Day 2016: The women who inspire me
A family member, a friend, a celebrity. All of us will be lucky enough to know at least one inspiring woman.
And in honour of International Women's Day, recognised worldwide on March 8 each year, I am celebrating three of the women in my life - in fact, one from each of the categories above.
IWD not only highlights the economic, political, and social achievements of women across the world but also calls for equality between women and men. Sadly, it's still too far away.
With the revelation that it could be decades until the world reaches true gender parity (2095 is the estimated year, at the moment) more men and women are needed to pledge their support for the campaign.
So while you think about the females who have affected your life for the better, and those who you are most proud of, let me tell you (briefly) about mine.
The family member
Firstly, I'm going to talk about my Mam. There is so much I could say about how brilliant she is - but I really think it is enough to tell you all that if I'm lucky enough to have my own children, I hope to be just like her. I'm sure many women across the world are celebrating their mothers today, and perhaps aspiring to be like them too. But really, what bigger compliment is there from a daughter? Thanks Mam for just being the best in the business!
The next woman I must mention is my best friend, because she is one of the hardest-working people I know. She became a mother herself at a young age, and I can't express how proud I am of her journey. While raising a now almost 5-year-old (who will grow into an amazing woman too, I am certain) with her partner, my wonderful friend has held down a job working with children, studied at night to achieve a degree in childcare and is now on her way to becoming a teacher. And she isn't even 25 yet!
It's probably expected by someone who deals with words for a living, but one of the celebrities I most admire is an author; J.K. Rowling. I loved to read as a child but, along with thousands of others, it was the wizarding world of Harry Potter that really did change my life. I remember counting down the days to a new book coming out, and staying up all night just to get the latest one read as quickly as possible. To say that a generation has been inspired by Rowling's magic is not an understatement, and we could really use more of this in the future.
So how can you help with improving the future for women, today?
To find out more information, and make a Pledge For Parity, click here.Men can also pledge their support for gender equality by visiting He For She here.Keep up with the International Women's Day conversation on Twitter by following #IWD2016 #PledgeForParity and #SheInspiresMe.