Happy International Women’s Day! This day is central to the movement of women’s rights, and uplifts one another’s achievements and growth because of this. With no ceilings too high, I’ve highlighted just a few of the notable inspirational women (aside from those I know personally) from my area, to be able to celebrate them today.
Gurmit Kaur is Nottinghamshire’s first Asian woman police inspector, working in New Basford, Forest Fields and Hyson Green. She received an MBE in 2016 for her work and is a regular at support groups. These groups tackle issues from hate crime among Muslims to other problems affecting local minority communities.
2) Nadia Whittome MP
Known as the ‘baby of the House’ (of Commons), Nadia is the Labour Party MP representative for Nottingham East having been elected aged 23. She is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group and is also the first person of colour to be elected as an MP in Nottingham.
Socials: @NadiaWhittomeMP // https://nadiawhittome.org
3) Jayne Torvill
Jayne Torvill is half of the famous ice-skating duo Torvill & Dean. They are known for their gold medal Bolero routine which scored perfect marks at the 1984 Winter Olympics, and for coaching celebrities into skaters on ITV’s Dancing on Ice. Born in Clifton, Jayne Torvill was also awarded an OBE in 2000 and is Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham since her olympic win.
4) Paris Lee
Hucknall-born journalist, presenter, author and transgender rights activist, Paris Lee has many accomplishments to be celebrated. Paris was both BBC Radio 1’s and Channel 4’s first transgender presenter and named the most influential LGBTQ+ person in 2013’s The Independent on Sunday annual Rainbow List. She was also second in the 2014 Rainbow List and received the Positive Role Model award for LGBTQ+ at the 2012 National Diversity Awards. Paris is the first openly trans-woman in Britain to be profiled in Vogue, as she appeared in their influential women ‘meet the suffragettes’ feature in January 2018.
5) Rebecca Adlington
Mansfield-born (one of our only claims to fame), Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington is a double-gold medallist. The new mum of two is now retired but remains a town star with the Sherwood Swimming Baths, where she trained as a child, having been renamed as the Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre. She has also received an OBE, has a tram named after her and a 12-ft high, 40-ft long sculpture in The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park (pictured below).
6) Ellie and Becky Downie
The Downie sisters are Hucknall-born Olympic gymnasts. Ellie’s first Olympic appearance was aged 17 at Rio 2016 whilst Becky first appeared at the 2008 Beijing Games, aged 16. Ellie is the first gymnast to win a major all-around title for Great Britain and Becky is a double European champion, 2014 Commonwealth Games champion and 2019 world silver medallist.
Socials: @elliedownie and (Twitter) @bdownie (Instagram) @bdownie92
7) Alice Levine
BBC Radio 1 presenter, Alice Levine, hails from Beeston and studied at my sixth form – Bilborough College. She has had a solo weekend slot on the radio since 2014 and has since hosted ITV2’s backstage at the BRIT Awards. Alice also hosted Nottingham’s first Fashion Week in 2016. She now has a Nottingham City Transport bus named after her, because similarly to Rebecca… why not?
Socials: (Twitter) @alicelevine (Instagram) @thisisalicelevine