We Could Be Heroes (An International Women’s Day Adventure)

Last week I was involved in one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done, professionally. I worked on a film with super-talented female filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson which she was making for Selfridges for International Women’s Day (today!) We were thinking about female role models and mentors and gathered together four strong, successful women to ask them questions about what those ideas mean to them.

The line-up was: Caryn Franklin from All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, Bella Freud, Zaha Hadid and Wah Nails’  Sharmadean Reid. Incredible.


The most thrilling and terrifying part of the day was when Zaha was in the building. In the past I’ve felt that she wasn’t the role model she could be for me, as she didn’t talk much about being an Iraqi, or a woman, in the context of her career in architecture. But for FOUR-TELL she spoke up, explaining how she was educated by nuns in Iraq and how they gave her the strength and confidence to pursue her amibitions. She also acknowledged that she’d been reluctant to own the title of ‘woman architect’, but realised that she had a responsibility to take pride in that title, to inspire younger women in her field. This was the most moving statement for me.

Sharmadean Reid

Sharmadean Reid

I loved everything all four women said, but Sharmadean’s section was pretty extraordinary. She is so gracious and eloquent and possesses such a quiet power. I was inspired by her absolute faith in herself but also the fact that she cheerfully admits how much she needs her support structure – her friends and family – to spur her on to greater things while simultaneously keeping her grounded.

The message I took from our day of filming was that all women can inspire and mentor each other. The crew behind the camera were as smart and talented as the women we were filming, and the spirit of collaboration ran through every member of the team, with everyone focussed on producing the most uplifting, thought-provoking film possible. I’m very proud of having been part of such an amazing project. I hope you like it.

It feels like this has been a good week for celebrating female role models and networks – from Brownies (girlguiding is the biggest feminist organisation in the country, if not the world and internationalwomensday.com‘s preferred partner) to Kate Nash’s album launch on Monday, I was reminded of how great it feels and how much more you can achieve when you’re surrounded by women who support you.

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Co-founder and co-editor of Pamflet. Bookworm, bluestocking, Brown Owl. Loves Garconnes style, reading, writing, ranting and raving. Gin snob.
About phoebe:

Co-founder and co-editor of Pamflet. Bookworm, bluestocking, Brown Owl. Loves Garconnes style, reading, writing, ranting and raving. Gin snob.

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