International Women's Day 2017: The women we admire

Today is International Women's Day. Who do you admire, and why?
Today is International Women's Day. Who do you admire, and why?

Celebrated each year on March 8, today is International Women's Day.

The worldwide celebration marks the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women - and this year's campaign calls on people across the globe to #BeBoldForChange to help in creating a more inclusive, gender equal world.

So today, we're taking a moment to talk about the women we admire, and why.

Who are yours?

Sophie Brownson, senior reporter: My mum Francine Brownson. At 18 when I moved to Wales to take on my first job as a journalist I was apprehensive, but she was the one who told me how important it was to spread my wings and take a chance. It was a decision I have never regretted and it is down to her constant support in all aspects of my life that has made me who I am today.

Debra Fox, social media editor: Actress Julianne Moore. While I admire Julianne's talent, I especially respect her readiness to take on challenging roles with an important message for the wider world. Her portrayal of Alice Howland in 2014's Still Alice was particularly poignant in spreading awareness of early onset Alzheimer's disease. It was honest, accurate and totally heartbreaking.

International Women's Day is celebrated each year on March 8.

International Women's Day is celebrated each year on March 8.

Gary Oliver, head of news: Margaret Aspinall and Anne Williams. They were two mums who suffered the heartbreaking loss of loved ones at the Hillsborough disaster and who showed incredible courage, devotion and dignity in the long quest to get justice for those who died that fateful day, and their families left behind.

Fiona Thompson, senior reporter: Coming up with just one inspirational woman is an overwhelming task. There are so many, but those I admire the most are the ones who push forward through the toughest of times, or simply because they have the drive to get things done.

Seaham mum Fay Murrish, who has seen her daughter Chanel treated for a rare heart condition, and Bradley Lowery's mother Gemma, who has shown such dignity and strength in dealing with his illness, have left a real impression.

Jax Higginson, from Whitburn, who is leading the North East Skinny Dip, has also made me smile in the last week - she wants to do it so she's invited everyone else along too.

Julianne Moore accepts her Oscar for Still Alice. Picture: AP.

Julianne Moore accepts her Oscar for Still Alice. Picture: AP.

But if there's one who has given me reassurance, enlightenment and plenty of laughs in the last year, it's Sarah Pascoe with her book Animal.

I wish I'd had this to hand as a teenager to fill the gaps. It's never too late to learn (and I mean that for all of us.) It's also led me on to a wealth of other writers. Top work Sarah.

Verity Ward, senior reporter: My nanna Elizabeth 'Betty' Noble, who passed away aged 90, just over 10 years ago. She wasn't much taller than five foot, but she was full of pearls of wisdom and taught me many great life lessons. At 16 she informed a worried me, when I had my first ever interview for a Saturday job: "Nobody is better than yourself."

At 18 she said: "When drink is in, wit is out." (She used to own the Wooden Dolly pub in North Shields in the 1940s/early 50s so experienced many a drunken plonker).

At 20 she offered: "Never depend on a man for anything - do it yourself." (She was married to my very nice grandfather - but he was at sea at awful lot in the Merchant Navy). I try to apply all three rules whenever possible."

Gary Welford, digital editor: Siouxsie Sioux. One of the small group of women who made sure that the initial stirrings of punk rock weren't just one big boys' club. She formed her own band, The Banshees, became a style icon for countless young women and was arguably the first modern-day Goth. She made sure women's voices were heard in a male-dominated industry.

Follow the conversation on International Women's Day 2017 by searching #IWD2017 and #BeBoldForChange on Twitter. For more information about the campaign, click here.