International Women’s Day – Our Inspirational Women
08/03/2021

International Women’s Day – Our Inspirational Women

To celebrate International Women's Day this year, we asked the women across the LEGO Ventures team to name a woman, past or present, they consider to be 'inspirational’.

Holly Shortland
Written by
Holly Shortland

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for well over a century, with the first gathering occurring in 1911. Since then, March 8th marks an international day of celebration for the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

The official campaign theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge.

‘A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge’.

So to celebrate Women’s Day this year, we asked the women across the LEGO Ventures team to name a woman, past or present, they consider to be ‘inspirational’.

Greta Thunberg – climate & environmental activist

Elspeth: “Greta is absolutely fearless – she stands up for what’s right has taken it upon herself to be a voice for the next generation. At such a young age, she’s woken the world up to understanding that our planet can’t withstand the way we’ve been treating it, and that we need to make drastic changes.”

Jia LingChinese director & comedian

Anna: “Jia represents the new generation of Chinese women – talented, confident, and resilient. Jia has been a comedian for 20+ years, but the film “Hi, Mom” demonstrated her talent as a director and the appeal of storytelling from a female-centered, emotional angle. Jia is the current record holder of the highest-grossing female director in Chinese film history. Jia’s courage to speak for females, in an environment still dominated by male-defined social & career standards, inspired millions of women front of the screen to believe in oneself.”

Monica Galettichef & TV presenter

Jemma: “Monica is a very successful chef-proprietor and judges on Masterchef UK. Monica is extremely focused and takes a no-nonsense approach in building a strong reputation for herself in a male-dominated environment. But she also comes across as a very warm and empathetic person as a TV presenter – a balance hard to achieve.”

Malala Yousafzai – activist for female education & Nobel Peace Prize winner

Josephine: “Since the age of 11, Malala has fought for females’ right to education. After being critically shot for speaking out publicly she has established the Malala Fund and continues to work for a better future for the +130 million girls who are currently out of school. As we aspire to “Supercharge Education” I see her as a strong role model.”

Margaret Hamiltonformer Director of Software Engineering at MIT

Isabel: “As Director of Software Engineering, Margaret was instrumental in the project that wrote the code for the on-board flight software for NASA’S Apollo 11 missions – the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). Developed at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, the programmers had to start from scratch and showed incredible determination and innovation.”

Margrethe Vestager – European Commission Executive Vice-President, Danish European Commissioner

Sara: “Margrethe is very authentic in the way that she balances being very professional and also personally without being private. I also respect her bravery for her willingness to challenge large corporations.”

Emmeline Pankhurst British Political Activist & Suffragette

Jerry: “As the leader of the UK Suffragette movement, Emmeline is a key figure in our history. Their demand for equality led to the recognition of women’s voting rights in 1918. Consequently, Emmeline was named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century by Time.”

Alexandria Ocasio-CortezUS Politician, Congresswoman

Sabine: “Alexandria is unafraid to challenge the status quo and ask progressive and provocative questions. This leads to finally shining a light on and debating some of the foundational issues and inequalities with human rights, equality, and female rights that are still embedded in our societies. She’s not afraid to show vulnerability or admitting when she’s wrong which makes her authentic and an inspiring female leader.”

Dr. Özlem Türeci & Kizzmekia Corbettkey figures in developing COVID vaccines

Alexis: “Dr. Türeci & Kizzmekia Corbett are women at forefront of the development of the COVID vaccines. Dr. Türeci has an inspiring background, as the daughter of a Turkish physician who immigrated from Istanbul to post-war Germany. Özlem and her husband founded  BioNTech in 2008 and have worked tirelessly to conduct research and develop treatments and vaccines for some of the most threatening diseases of the 21st century. Kizzmekia is an African American scientist, who is Scientific Lead for the Coronavirus Vaccine Program. Her influential work during the pandemic has led to her being named on the ‘Time100 Next’ list under the category of Innovators.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)US Supreme Court Justice & Equal Rights Advocate 

Eleanor: “Ruth was a true role model; determined, brilliant, and humble. She was an unrelenting, savvy, and successful champion for women’s rights and equality justice in the United States. Throughout her entire career and also while serving as the 2nd female US Supreme Court Justice, her actions, decisions, and “dissents” truly transformed the lives of American men and women today. She was quite small in stature, but her legacy is immense! I am personally most inspired by her approach and her persistence: ‘Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you’.”

Michelle Obamaformer First Lady of the United States

Holly: “Michelle is not only a figure who made history as the first African American First Lady of the United States but throughout and since her time in the White House, she has proven to be a champion of younger people’s voices. Whilst reading her book ‘Becoming’, Michelle made me realise that we aren’t simply what we’ve become, but of the importance of emphasising and recognising how we got there. In my own life, I’ve been a daughter, a big sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a pupil, a historian, a stressed-out undergrad, an ecstatic graduate, a hopeful applicant, a disappointed candidate, a thrilled new employee, a TV runner, a volunteer, a marketeer. And as my life continues, I will continue to be many of those things, and look forward to the journey of becoming things I never imagined.”

Today, our team will be gathering virtually to celebrate Women’s Day with a LEGO Ventures ‘Women’s Hour’. We take inspiration from these women as we look to support the next generation of amazing leaders, doing our part to Inspire and Develop the Builders of Tomorrow.

Photo Credits ©

  • Twitter @GretaThunberg
  • Instagram @Michaelle Obama
  • Instagram @galettigram
  • Instagram @Malala
  • Twitter @vestager
  • Twitter @KizzyPhD
  • Twitter @ozlem9597
  • Instagram @AOC

References