Tuesday, 8 March 2011

100 Most Inspiring Women

Today is International Women's Day!

It's a day to celebrate the achievements of women, and one of my colleagues handed me a copy of today's Guardian supplement: 100 most inspiring women.

The list of women has been drawn up from a list of more than 3,000 suggestions from readers. I wonder if there were any leaders from the churches in that original list, because there aren't any in the remaining 100.

But there are some women who have inspired me: Aung San Suu Kyi, Ellen MacArthur, Germaine Greer, Tanni Grey-Thompson. And there are plenty of women I've never heard of, whose stories I've been reading and whom I want to find out more about.

There's no doubt about it: the stories of other women can inspire us. And as I think I have written before in a blog, research suggests that for women, role models are particularly important. Inspiring Women, by Ruth Perrin, explores this and highlights some women in the Bible who might be models.

But this list of 100 women has got me thinking: who are my top 10 Inspiring Women? If I'm allowed to include biblical women, I'd say Mary Magdalene, Priscilla and Junia; then from church history I'd pick some more: there were some remarkable women who went to preach the gospel in America, and from the nineteenth century one of my favourites is Geraldine Hooper, a remarkable evangelist from Bath whom no-one has ever heard of! And from those alive today: the Ranger Guide leader whose Christian faith shone out when I was a teenager; Valerie Griffiths (former OMF missionary, and energetic advocate for women's equality) Jessica Jackley (co-founder of Kiva), Kate Coleman (Baptist minister), and others who are pioneering in various ways in the church...

Wouldn't it be great is the next list like this had some women who were noted for their Christian faith?

Who is in your top 10?

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