In celebration of International Women's Day, we're taking a look at some of Leeds most inspirational women making us proud of our roots. From Sportswomen to Authors these local women have inspired generations and will continue to do so for years to come.
We’ve laughed with her and cried with her; Bridget jones is an undeniable guilty pleasure, but it’s the lady behind the infamous sequel, Helen Fielding we are saluting.
Morley born Helen Fielding has broken records, won numerous awards and made history with her series of relatable dramas. She began her professional career as a production manager for the BBC before going on to pursue a successful career as an author. Her witty take on the life of thirty-something- singleton in ‘Bridget Jones, Mad about the Boy’ made it a worldwide bestseller in record breaking time. She’s since gone on to write an equally successful sequel and even got the likes of Hugh Grant and Renee Zellweger to portray her lovable characters in the ever popular film series.
Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Bridget or Helen!
Leeds born Nicola Adams was a given when it comes to Leeds Inspirational women. She became the first British woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. That wasn’t enough for Nicola who then went on to defend her title in 2016. Since then Nicola has turned professional and is adding her long list of achievements.
Outside of the ring Adams is celebrated for her influence within the LGBT community being the first openly LGBT athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. Both her professional and personal life makes her an inspiration to young women across Leeds and the rest of the country.
From Leeds to LA, Mel B or more commonly known Scary Spice has made Harehills proud over the years. Heading up the band named as ‘the best- selling female group of all the time’ The Spice Girls. Mel B has contributed to the likes of ‘2 become 1’ and ‘Wannabe’ many of which became the anthems to young girls childhoods. The band spent 22 weeks at number 1 in the UK alone and won 5 BRIT awards. Since the disappointing Hiatus was announced in 2000 Mel B has gone on to become a mother to 3 children, released her debut solo album and made numerous TV appearances, who says one woman can’t do it all?
Just when we thought her schedule was jam-packed, the spice girls announced their reunion tour set start in 2019 to spice up our lives just a little more!
Cycling’s answer to wonder woman. Another Morley born hero; Beryl Burton took the world of cycling by storm. After suffering from a heart arrhythmia as a child and told not exercise, she went on to ignore all advice and won more than 90 races and 7 world titles in cycling. At the peak of her success Burton set the women’s world record for a 12 hour time trial in 1967 at 277.25 miles which to this day is yet to be beaten.
Whilst making cycling history Burton refused to accept sponsorship and continued to work 12 hour days on a rhubarb farm during the winter. That being said we don’t only salute Burton on her extraordinary cycling success but for defining the art of multi-tasking!
Leeds born Margaret Susanne Ryder, better known as Sue Ryder is a well-respected name worldwide. Growing up in Leeds, Ryder's legacy began when was just 15 when she began helping those who were displaced from their homes during WWII. Once the war was over Ryder did not stop her extraordinary selfless attempts to help others. Post-war she went on to also support people in need of palliative and neurological care. In 1953 she founded the ‘Sue Ryder’ charity to support those with life-threatening illnesses; the organisation has since gone on to raise millions. Sue Ryder sadly passed away in 2000 but her legacy and the amazing work she started will continue for years to come, a true inspiration.
So there we have it, just 5 out of a long list of inspirational women born and raised in our much loved city of Leeds, to be celebrated today and every other day of the year.
Happy International Women’s day!