Blog: Women who inspire us #IWD2021

Ahead of International Women’s Day (#IWD2021), the Evolve Women’s Strategy Group set out to create a list of inspiring female role models and a playlist of incredible songs from talented women across the world.

After seeing this awe inspiring list come together the group decided to share it with the wider organisation to uncover more inspiring women. We’ve curated the best of that list below to spread the empowering history of women who have made a difference.

Who: Vedangi Kulkarni

Why she inspires us: Vedangi Kulkarni recently became the youngest woman to have circumnavigated the world on bicycle. It took her 160 days to pedal 29000km, across 14 countries. She was 19 when she started, and 20 when she finished, most of her journey was solo and unsupported.

What she taught us: Vedangi now runs The Adventure Shed, a business that provides end to end expedition management services and aims to make adventure accessible for all. She hopes to inspire people to take action to take on their own challenges and push themselves in the way she has always done.

Nominated by Donna Arthur, Psychological Wellbeing Therapist

Who: Mercedes Sosa

Why she inspires us: The Argentine folk singer, Mercedes Sosa, was a world-class performer, whose influence went far beyond the borders of music. Nicknamed, “The Voice of the Voiceless”, Sosa used her voice to transmit the strength and fire needed for cultural and personal change. For decades, Sosa was a dynamic force in shaping Latin America

What she taught us: “I didn’t choose to sing for people, life chose me to sing.” Today, Sosa’s life stands as a testimony to the heroic power of one’s individual voice to make a meaningful difference in human affairs. She was an artist who transformed personal suffering into art and activism for a more emphatic and compassionate world.

Nominated by Jenna, Specialist Health and Wellbeing Manager


Who: Michelle Obama

Why she inspires us: Michelle Obama is best known as the former US First Lady, but long before becoming the wife of America’s first African American president, this strong and inspirational woman was changing the world. With her history of taking practical steps to make social changes, and in particular her goal of empowering women, she has become a role model to many people.

What she taught us: Michelle is an inspiration to young girls everywhere, who she encourages to ‘spread your wings and soar’. As a truly modern-day, revolutionary woman, who has championed a multitude of important causes throughout her life, she has encouraged better education for girls, equal rights, healthy living and more help for families living in poverty.

Nominated by Janine, Social work student

Who: Angelina Jolie

Why she inspires us: As a public figure, the actress is not only well-recognised for her influential and solicitous humanitarian efforts but also for setting up and financing various charity organisations. She also promotes various other causes like education and women’s rights.

What she taught us: “Make bold choices and make mistakes. It’s all those things that add up to the person you become.” She was named as the Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2001 for her dedicated service to war refugees. After her appointment, Jolie visited more than 30 countries to help people displaced by conflict and natural disasters, at times, even risking her life.

Nominated by Pamela Newman, Deputy Director of Operations

Who: Cerys Matthews

Why they inspire us: Musician, radio DJ, interviewer, presenter, published author. Cerys has such a passion and curiosity for words and music and rhythm and her 6Music radio show on a Sunday morning has been an essential part of my life for many years now. She mixes songs of every genre and origin, with poetry, and interviews with those who travel our world (or simply explore their local area) with equal levels of curiosity.

What she taught us: The former Catatonia frontwoman is passionate about taking Welsh music to the world. She has even launched her own festival, The Good Life Experience in Flintshire, urging us all to get back to basics.

Nominated by Jenna, Specialist Health and Wellbeing Manager



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