Celebrating inspiring ladies of Wales this International Women’s Day.
What is International Women’s Day?
After the Socialist Party of America planned a Women's Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference suggested a Women's Day be held annually. Following women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.
Nowadays, International Women's Day is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.
Here we spotlight and celebrate gorgeously inspiring Welsh women;
1) Wenda James-Rowe
Wenda James-Rowe is passionate about helping young girls and women to reach their true potential and embrace their individuality. The Go Girl Academy was founded by Wenda James-Rowe in 2012, when as her job as an Image Consultant and Fitness instructor, Wenda was regularly told by parents that their daughters lacked confidence and self-esteem.
Wenda is an identical twin and grew up being compared to her very brainy sister. “I used to compare myself to my sister and wonder why I wasn’t as academic as her? “ I then realised in my later teens that I loved working with people and was actually more creative than academic. I wish I had realised this much earlier as I really did beat myself up about this over the years. Both my sister and I have gone on to have successful careers but in very different fields.
This is exactly the message and ethos of The Go Girl Academy, we are all unique and individual and we all have unique individual qualities. If we realise what we are good at and what we are passionate about early on in life, this can be instrumental in helping us with career and life decisions in the future.
2) Shoned Owen
Founder and CEO of Tanya Whitebits, (Wales’s first home grown self tan) Welsh-native Shoned Owen had always been interested in the Beauty industry, particularly tanning since her teens. She used sun beds throughout her twenties until the dangers of skin cancer and premature skin ageing converted her to self tanning products.
In 2012 she attended an accredited Spray Tanning Course. She did this in order to boost her income and set herself up as a mobile tanning technician, a Mumpreneur so to speak. It fitted in perfectly around her work and children “I enjoyed having control over when I was working and how much I was earning!” Shoned became an expert in spray tanning also qualifying in 3D contour tanning.
Tanya Whitebits began life as a Professional Tanning Solution back in 2013 after Shoned became disillusioned with what was available in the tanning industry at the time.
Shoned began to explore the formulation of self tan in 2013. Determined to remove all the barriers that were normally associated with fake tanning, her focus came to reality in the creation of Tanya Whitebits; a fast drying quality, non-sticky and odour free formula.
She is passionate, transparent and pride herself on customer service and consumer satisfaction.
3) Yousra Elsadig
Yousra is an award-winning modest fashion designer, full-time Optometry student and a mother of two. She was born in Sudan and moved to Canada at a young age. Yousra graduated from her first degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto, which is the first step towards a Doctor of Optometry degree in Canada.
She is also, now the CEO of Boutique de Nana an award-winning, unique and trendy modest fashion brand that caters to any female who chooses to dress modestly, whether it is because of a personal preference, a religious reason, or a royal protocol.
She strives to make ladies who always dress modestly look and feel red-carpet ready. Modesty is a requirement for ladies in the Muslim faith and that is how and why she chose this niche in design.
4) Cerys Furlong
Cerys Furlong is chief executive of Chwarae Teg, (Welsh for ‘Fair Play’) which, since 1992, has been working to help ensure women in Wales can enter the workplace, develop their skills and build rewarding careers.
They produce and commission cutting edge research, as well as managing and delivering projects that serve women, employers and educators throughout Wales. Prior to this, Cerys has worked in roles at the Learning and Work Institute, the Open University and the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, as well as having served as a Councillor for Cardiff County Council for five and half years.
Cerys joined Chwarae Teg as chief executive in February 2017 from Learning and Work Institute where I was Director for Wales. I worked for over ten years in the education and skills sectors, and remain a Governor of ACT Training, Fitzalan High School and Adult Learning Wales.
Throughout all this varied experience, representing women, supporting women and championing women has been at her core. Whether that is in encouraging and promoting women in my businesses, researching the impact of education and training on women, arguing for better representation of women in local government, or simply breaking down barriers of perception by being a young working mother and Councillor.
5) The Spectrum Sisters
Sophie and Hannah Pycroft have been described as making 'the world's most Instagram-able make-up brushes' after their products became a hit on the online photo sharing app.
The Barry-based sisters behind Spectrum Collections sell their multi-coloured brushes and brush sets all over the world.
“Make-up brushes used to just be functional, but we spotted a gap in the market and wanted to create products that had a bit of personality,” they told Fabulous Online.
“People love us because we’re different. People love unicorns and mermaids as a way of saying they’re not like everyone else. But we're not just style over substance; they are high-quality products.”
The siblings dreamed up the idea while on holiday in Gran Canaria with their parents. “We wanted to start our own business because of the lack of creative job opportunities in Wales,” said Sophie, 30, who used to be a freelance wedding photographer while Hannah, 28, was a videographer.
“We brainstormed with mum and dad around the pool. We saw there was a gap in the market for trend-led beauty tools. We found a product we were really passionate about and that combined our interests.”
Spectrum is renowned for spearheading trends, from unicorn-shaped brushes to marble prints. Hannah said: “Magazines are a huge source of inspiration for us, we trend watch and also look to the catwalk. We try and think ahead of the game compared to what everyone else is doing.