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International Women’s Day – Women Who Inspire Me to #BreakTheBias

By Honor Woodley on 8th March 2022

Today is International Women’s Day, a day where we celebrate all that women bring to our society, as well as reflect on some of the challenges they face. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, in order to create a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

Octopus is full of some strong, amazing women who inspire their teams and colleagues to produce work they are incredibly proud of. Part of this is having their own inspirations, women who have shaped them to be who they are today and continue to motivate them.

We asked four women at Octopus to talk to us about who this is for them, and talk about why this person has helped to #BreakTheBias:

“My mum has broken biases her entire life – particularly the stereotype of women as soft or unable to cope in tough situations. She grew up in poverty, left school at 14, and had left an unhappy marriage by her early twenties (bit controversial in the Irish Catholic community at the time), but her irrepressible strength and will-to-survive has enabled her to overcome every challenge life has thrown at her. She scrapped her way to the top in the territorial army (great shot with a rifle!) and in sexist, male-dominated work environments through the 70s and 80s, taking zero crap along the way. Even now, she’s one of the fiercest and physically toughest women I know: at 67 her newest hobby is cold water swimming in the River Blackwater.” Nicole Jones, Head of Writing @Octopus Group

“My mother and sister have always been my biggest inspiration. My mother was one of the first female diplomats in Nigeria, rising to the highest position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while raising three children and putting her two sisters through university. Now my sister has followed her footstep working for UNESCO while running her own small business and raising her two kids”. Titi Badiya, Senior Digital Marketing Manager @Octopus Group

“Growing up, I was an avid reader, and would read anything I could get my hands on. I think there are more initiatives in place now, but at the time I was in school, most of the authors covered by the curriculum were male, think James Joyce and John Steinbeck. So when I was handed a copy of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I was intrigued to find out more about this woman who had made her way onto my reading list.

Mary Shelley had a difficult childhood, with her mother dying weeks after her birth and a complicated relationship with her stepmother. Yet, she was only 19 when she finished Frankenstein, a book still widely read, and loved, today. She broke free of the biases around female authors in the 1800s to create something which we still hold up to be an amazing work of literature. So while it is a little untraditional to say, Mary Shelley is the woman who I want to highlight as inspirational to me this International Women’s Day and someone who we can truly say was way ahead of her time in #BreakingTheBias.” Honor Woodley, Account Executive @Octopus Group

“’From a young age my mum has inspired me in many ways, she is the bravest strongest and funniest person I know. Over the last year, she has not been well but whatever life throws at her she still manages to have a smile on her face, she pushes me to do my best in everything. If it wasn’t for my mum, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I will always look up to her.” Simran Rani, Assistant Management Accountant @Octopus Group

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