In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, we asked staff and students to tell us which women they find most inspirational and why. Some of the results are below and as you can see, there is quite a mix – from historical leaders to family members to farming pioneers.
Isabelle Bourassa, BEng (Hons) Engineering: Queens Elizabeth I & II
Two of the greatest leaders in history. With 114 years of reign between them, across four millennia, both Queens have shaped the image of strong, independent, modern women. The first reigned without a man by her side at a time when women were defined by their husband. The second redefined the conventions of wifehood – putting her job before her domestic role at a time when women were defined by their marriage. Both were national unifiers, restoring peace and stability to a fractured nation.
Kim Stearman, BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing: Heather Stearman.
I would like to nominate Heather Stearman as the woman I find most inspiring as she is a strong woman with a kind soul who lives to enrich the lives of others, particularly those who are vulnerable or less able, even when her health is making life difficult, she will put everyone else first and that is inspiring.?
Carrie De Silva, Visiting Lecturer: Irene Barclay.
The first female chartered surveyor who did not simply fit into the existing, comfortable working pattern of women housing managers, but who used the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 to enable her to qualify as a chartered surveyor, going on to have an illustrious and nationally important career over more than 50 years.
Ellen Deighton, Student Advisor: Kiri Pritchard McLean.
She is a comedian, writer and podcaster who, as well as being absolutely hilarious, regularly speaks out on social issues. She is a champion of small businesses, and amplifies causes in need. During the pandemic she co-founded a livestreamed comedy gig that has raised over £150,000 for the Trussell Trust. She also has a fabulous dress sense – who doesn’t love sequins?!
Emily Brown, BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management, Student Union President: Minette Batters.
Minette Batters, NFU President, in an absolute inspiration to women in the rural industry. She is the first female NFU President and has helped to establish initiatives such as ‘Ladies in Beef’. Minette is not afraid to challenge stereotypes as well as strongly leading the farming industry during a significant period of change, challenging the government to ensure that UK agriculture is globally competitive, whilst looking to mitigate climate change and improve the environment. As well as this, Minette is a formidable public speaker for a membership organisation to have.
Dr Jude Capper: Minnette Batters & Mary Mead
Aside from everyone else, the obvious person is Minette Batters, for her drive, passion and immense energy in moving the farming industry forwards. I’d also like to mention Mary Mead, founder of Yeo Valley. She’s not quite as well known, but even now that she’s in her 80s, she’s an amazing force of nature and is such a pioneer of agricultural systems and practices. I have so much respect and affection for Mary - I hope I can be a fraction as good as she is for our industry.?