Julie Lithgo, ARC Committee
Julie Lithgo’s inspirational women
There are so many women who come under the heading of ‘inspirational’ that when asked to think of some stories I struggled to narrow the list down. Helen Keller who gained her bachelor’s degree despite losing her sight and hearing at an early age. Malala Yousafzai who survived a Taliban assassination attempt as a school girl, going on to continue her studies, and the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Liz Johnson is a Gold medal-winning Paralympian who set up a recruitment agency aiming to close the disability employment gap. Hedy Lamarr who was famous for being a beautiful actress, but was also a scientist who contributed to the development of important communication methods and a guidance system for WW2 torpedoes. Doreen Lawrence who campaigns tirelessly against racism and violence, showing compassion and positivity are stronger than hate. Ada Lovelace who was a mathematician and worked on Charles Babbage’s early ‘computer’ in the 19th Century, often referred to as the first computer programmer. Helena Ndume is an ophthalmologist who has performed sight-restoring surgeries on around 35,000 Namibians free of charge. Irena Sendler who saved the lives of around 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing safe hiding spaces and false identity papers before finding non-Jewish families to adopt them. Madam C J Walker who was born to enslaved parents, but went on to become the wealthiest self-made woman in America.
After thinking about it for a little while I realised that the women who inspire me the most are women that I know personally. Helen Baird-Parker who asked me to write this piece, because she is tenacious in her desire to make things better, and is always a supportive union colleague. I know four women currently fighting various forms of cancer and all are doing so with determination, grace and humour, yet still finding time to be thoughtful friends. My sister Helen who has had more than her fair share to deal with throughout her life, but she never fails to be the one supporting everyone else. Helen never fails to make me laugh and inspires me to live each day to its fullest. Even thinking closer to home then, I have struggled to narrow this list down, which makes me really happy. Thank you to all the inspiring women in my life.
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