Remarkable Women

Mums In Need founder Laura Riley is nominated for ‘Inspiration of the Year’ at Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards next week. Ahead of the awards ceremony, Mums In Need staff and volunteers reflected on various women that they find remarkable.

Founder and CEO Laura’s remarkable woman is Katie Piper.

Katie Piper was attacked with acid in 2008 by her ex-boyfriend and an accomplice. Since then, she has written books, presented documentaries and recently starred in Strictly Come Dancing. Laura said, “She turned a really awful experience into something amazing by setting up a charity for people with burns and other disfigurement injuries. I’ve also read her book and that inspired me to write my own (although that’s not published yet).”

Senior SWIFT officer Faye’s remarkable woman is JK Rowling.

JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is a household name around the world, but she also suffered a great deal of hardship before the books became successful. Faye told us, “Those that inspire me are those that overcome negative experiences and selflessly create something for the world to enjoy. I came from a single parent family so I experienced first hand the determination of a woman providing for her daughter. To inspire children is hard, and she successfully inspired a whole generation to keep reading. She is also tremendous at articulating herself on Twitter when discussing issues, and does so with grace and humour.”

Senior SWIFT officer Danielle’s remarkable woman is Jasvinder Sanghera.

Jasvinder Sanghera is a survivor of forced marriage who founded Karma Nirvana, a charity that supports those who have been affected by honour based abuse and forced marriages. Forced marriage became a specific criminal offence in the UK in 2014 and Jasvinder’s work is recognised as being crucial in the creation of this legislation. Danielle said, “She is an incredible campaigner. I’ve seen her speak and also had the opportunity to speak with her and she is truly inspirational.”

Trustee Olivia’s remarkable woman is Esmée Gummer.

Esmée Gummer was left paralysed at 18 due to complications with a hernia operation and was told that she would not walk again. Over the process of teaching herself to walk again, she found a love for fitness and became an instructor. This year she appeared on the extremely challenging programme ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’. Olivia told us, “She is a woman from my hometown and she is now the head of fitness at 1Rebel Gym in London.”

Social media volunteer Marianne’s remarkable woman is Jess Phillips.

Jess Phillips is the MP for Birmingham Yardley and campaigns against sexism and domestic abuse. For the past three years, she has stood up in Parliament and read out the names of women who have been killed by men in the UK over the past year, which last year was a list of over 100 names. Marianne said, “I think it’s really important that we have people like Jess Phillips in Parliament to brings these issues to the attention of other politicians. She continues to fight against sexism and domestic abuse despite the daily online abuse that she gets and that must be incredibly difficult.”

Social media volunteer Ellie’s remarkable woman is Mariska Hargitay.

Mariska Hargitay is an award-winning actress, best known for her role as Olivia Benson on ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’. Ellie says she is remarkable because “She set up the Joyful Heart Foundation to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse and child abuse. She is also working to raise awareness about the massive backlog of untested rape kits by working with police and other organisations to campaign on this issue.”

The voting for the ‘Inspiration of the Year’ category at the Remarkable Women Awards closes at 11.59pm tomorrow (28th February)! If you would like to vote for Laura, the founder and CEO of Mums In Need, simply email rwa@stylist.co.uk with ‘Laura Riley’ in the subject line.