March 8th is International Women’s Day (#IWD2017) beeyoutees! 

What is International Women’s Day? Observed since the early 1900’s, IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women 🙂 As well as unity, celebration, reflection and advocacy, IWD also marks a ‘call to action’ for accelerating gender parity. This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange and is an opportunity for you to help progress the ‘gender agenda’; be you woman, man or non-binary, individual or, part of an organisation.

What does #BeBoldForChange mean for me? Today is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of my lovely mum who, whilst now in the depths of advanced dementia, was an inspirational business woman and doting mother in her time.

An independent woman – Dutch by birth, mum grew up in occupied Holland during WWII, witnessing atrocities that most of us today would crumble at the mere thought of. Despite her horrific wartime experiences, mum went on to forge a successful career in the Dutch commodities markets and became the first female on the Dutch trading floors. This afforded her the opportunity to buy her own apartment and car and, an independence rarely afforded to women in the 1950’s! She met my dad whilst on holiday in the South of France and moved to the UK to marry him; giving up the life she knew and starting a new one, in what would have seemed a very foreign land back then. She brought up two children, then helped my dad establish a successful supply chain business, all whilst continuing to run the family home and, never serving a family meal without a side salad, much to my dad’s displeasure 😉 She maintained her independence well into her 70’s when, after my dad left, she would regularly drive back to Holland to visit friends and family. She had a lifelong passion for art and continued to visit galleries and museums until she was no longer able to. She was driven to constantly learn new things; learning how to play Bridge and use the computer very late on in her life and, was multilingual in Dutch, English, French, German and a little Spanish. And always, I remember her love of a good skincare product – no matter how exhausted she might feel before bed, she would religiously remove the grime of the day with her Pond’s Cold Cream and apply her beloved Lancôme Tonique Douceur and moisturiser – my beauty product passion/obsession is all down to her 😉

Now – mum can no longer speak and barely recognises us, so is unable to narrate the story of her life with tales of triumph over adversity and her challenges as an independent woman in a man’s world. Equally so, we can’t know that when we tell her we’re proud of her and thank her for being our mum, whether she can even understand what we say, which makes it even more important that her achievements are not forgotten, but very much celebrated on this, International Women’s Day.

Thanks Mum and Go Girls!