• 7 March 2023
  • Less than a min read

International Womens Day 2023

  • 7 March 2023
  • Less than a min read

The woman-led creativity that has galvanised the women of Saffron

‘I think that the power of art is the power to wake us up, strike us to our depths, change us. What are we searching for when we read a novel, see a film, listen to a piece of music? We are searching, through a work of art, for something that alters us, that we weren’t aware of before.’

Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day, celebrated annually on March 8, also marks an opportunity to call for action to accelerate gender parity. While we acknowledge that this is important work that should, and can, be done year-round, today is one of the most important days of the year to bring global awareness.

This year, Saffron celebrates International Women’s Day by elevating our women and the woman-led creativity that has helped shape and inspire them, bringing strength and endurance in the movement towards gender equality.

IMAGE SOURCE Allison (Hueman), HOMEBODY (exhibition) 'Her blend of ethereal realism and use of colour is out of this world. Bold but delicate. She is a She-E-O and mother of two.'

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Anita Chhiba, Diet Paratha (digital platform) 'It's important to see representation in the creative world to inspire people from minority backgrounds to feel empowered to pursue their creative potential. I think this is a great example of intersectionality, where we see a woman not just focusing on female representation but empowering those within her community to make space and have a voice.'

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Anna Akhmatova, Requiem (poem) 'During Joseph Stalin's regime, Anna Akhmatova endured artistic repression as well as tremendous personal loss. I think it's beautiful that, despite losing her lover and son to Stalinist repressions, she was able to convey the beautiful albeit harsh reality of life.'

IMAGE SOURCE Aracelis Girmay, the black maria(book)I met Aracelis Girmay at the Unamuno Authors Festival in Madrid in 2019. I was seven months pregnant. Aracelis read selections from the black maria, and she and the poems stayed with me. The book was the first one I picked up with my newborn son in my arms. Her poetry speaks to the wonder and weight of our bodies, the power and vulnerability that comes with creation. & so to tenderness I add my action.


Image source Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes (artwork) 'She was the first woman at the Florence Academy of Fine Art and is considered among the most accomplished artists of the 17th century. If there is inequality between men and women in the world of art now, what she achieved four centuries ago is incredible.'

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Astrid Stavro, body of work (design) 'I remember perfectly well one of my first editorial lessons in uni when I discovered Astrids work. As a young woman, it was impressive to discover the work of such an inspiring leader. Her work has been a source of inspiration, courage, and trust in my path as a designer.'

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (book) 'Adichies writing is so compelling because it captures the tension between retaining your cultural identity (in her case Nigerian) in a westernised world, while at the same time advocating for equality and a fairer society for women.'

IMAGE SOURCE Chrissie Hynde, Hymn to Her (song) I love this song. For me she is talking about herself and the female power she is always connected to - "from the womb to the tomb". The chorus makes me feel strong because it makes me feel like I will always be powerful inside, no matter what happens.

IMAGE SOURCE Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid (book) 'Since I was a child, I have been interested in helping less fortunate communities worldwide. Before reading Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo, I thought foreign aid was working. Yet, I realised that foreign aid should not be based on money but on helping them find their way. Dambisa Moyo changed how I wanted to help the world; she helped me become more aware that each person should give a little bit of their time to social projects. Time and understanding are the real ingredients to help less fortunate communities.'

IMAGE SOURCE Graciela Iturbe, Mujer ngel, Desierto de Sonora (photo) 'For me, the photo evokes contradiction and complexity. Tradition, modernity; nature, technology; solitude, companionship; strength, softness. Not unlike the experience of being a woman. I find Iturbes ethnographic approach to her work really remarkable.'

IMAGE SOURCE Jennifer Coolidge, Golden Globes Award Speech 2023 (speech) 'It's not often you get to see a woman over 60 step up and accept an award she'd probably given up hope of winning. Jen Coolidge did it with grace and humour, and her Golden Globe victory serves as a nice reminder that not all careers are made in the first ten years!'

IMAGE SOURCE Louise Bourgeois, Spider Woman (artwork) 'In 1995, Bourgeois wrote a poem about her mother who died when she was young. She compares her to a spider, "because my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and useful as an araigne [spider]."'

IMAGE SOURCE Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (performance) 'Growing up, it was rare to see Asian faces, let alone women, on the international "big screen". She proves that women, Asian women especially, could practise a typically male-dominated art with grace and strength on the big screen. That you can be strong yet elegant, powerful yet refined. Her recent success is just proof of her hard work as a legend in Asian cinema.' 

IMAGE SOURCE Michelle Zauner, Crying in H Mart (book) 'This book will leave you puffy-eyed, craving spicy Korean noodles, and reaching for your phone to Facetime your mom. Crying in H Mart is an emotionally raw and beautiful memoir about the Asian American identity, mother-daughter relationship, grief, and seeking one's heritage through food. A must-read for anyone who has experienced loss or grown up feeling caught between conflicting cultures.'

IMAGE SOURCE Neri Oxman, Silk Pavilion (exhibition) 'This work is impactful not especially for the aesthetics (which are wonderful and impressive) but because it goes beyond the usual. It masters the mixing of two distant worlds that, in principle, are as distinct as architecture and biology.'

IMAGE SOURCE R.F. Kuang, Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators Revolution (book) 'R.F. Kuang is an exceptional writer who looks at the intersections of identity: racial, sexual, gender, class, etc. Babel was one of the best books I read last year and is a brilliant look at language, colonialism, identity, and love in all its forms - from family to romance to friendship.'

IMAGE SOURCE Yeonmi Park, In Order to Live (book) 'Her story, shared through the autobiographical book In Order to Live, shows the strength and bravery that a young girl had the power to build as she made her escape from communist North Korea. Since then, she has been an active voice in creating awareness about the country where she came from and that she has called her home.'

Special thanks to Ana Molina, Saffron Senior Designer, for her illustration.