These Women Rock!

For International Women’s Day, we asked our staff ‘has there been a particular woman who has inspired you or who you admire?’ Read on to find out more!

Bakhita Josephine

Bakhita Josephine

Gilli, shop manager cover:

‘A woman who inspired me is Bakhita, a Sudanese woman who was trafficked to Turkey as a slave who was tortured and branded. She was sold various times until in 1892 an Italian family bought her who treated her with respect and dignity which eventually led to her becoming a Christian and later a nun taking on the name Josephine. She was able to forgive those who had treated her so badly because she said without them she would never have found the faith that made her so happy. She died in 1947

Find out more about Bakhita Josephine here.

Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani

Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani, photo by Light Space Colour

Ruba, Shop Director:

I’d like to nominate Zahra from Young Women’s Music Project. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that the young women of Oxford are seen, and heard, looked after, and educated, all through their shared love of music and the arts. She has inspired so many young women, and puts her life and soul into running the charity too. She’s also a wonderful friend, and a brilliant mum. Zahra may be younger than me, but she inspires me a lot. 

Check out Zahra’s website here.

Shalini Deo

Shalini Deo (right) with Karen

Karen, Shop Director:

The woman who has inspired me in recent years is Shalini Deo. She lives in Kolkata and is my Hindu host when I am over there. She is a coach and mentor but her real passion is helping women living in poverty and the slums find meaning, purpose and employment in life. When I was in Kolkata in 2017, she organised a placement for me at a school called Ektara – and I was involved in their women’s teaching and empowerment programme. When I returned in 2019, I worked in a school in Sukantanagar that was run be St Paul’s Cathedral Relief Service –  They have a project called Nari Dana  which helps women into employment who might otherwise turn to prostitution. Tabitha Living in the UK have taken some of their products. 

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

Jo, Shop Director:

Rosa Parks in Southern USA. She knew that in refusing to give up her seat to a white woman in apartheid America. she was getting herself into all sorts of trouble but she did it to stand up against racial injustice. The episode on the bus triggered the year-long Montgomery bus boycott and saw the emergence of Martin Luther King as a leader in the civil rights struggle. 

Read more about Rosa Parks here

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, photo by Michael Campanella/The Guardian

Clare, Shop Director:

I have great respect for the sheer chutzpah with which she reads the riot act to world leaders, and the way she has mobilized the younger generations to take action on climate change – since they are the ones on whom the future welfare of the planet will depend. (She’s stirred up us oldies too!)

Read an interview with Greta Thunberg here

Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick, Photo: Vismedia

Trio, Assistant Shop Manager:

A woman I hugely admire is Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop. She completely changed the face of high street retail, making values led consumerism a thing when it hasn’t really existed before, championing many of the people care and planet care ideals that fair trade also holds. Plus she was a wonderful mentor and champion of female entrepreneurs, and helped me see how being a genuinely lovely person is a beautiful business asset.

Read more about Anita Roddick here

Sign-up for News & Offers

Subscribe to our email to receive the latest information and offers.