March 8th is International Women's Day – a day where we’re encouraged to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. If we're being totally honest with ourselves, then every day of the year should probably be International Women’s Day. None of us would be anywhere without the women in our lives and we should all be working harder to ensure that the world we live in is one free from sexism and misogyny.
The unfortunate reality is that that’s not the world we live in. Not by a wide margin. Women’s rights are human rights and it's impossible to feel at peace when countless girls and women around the globe still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender on an almost daily basis. About 1 in 3 women have experienced violence in their lifetime. Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights. Women’s jobs have been 1.8 times more vulnerable than men's jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Even here in the UK, the gender pay gap is still very much "a thing" and the work of women all over the nation remains vastly underpaid and under-appreciated. All of that is unacceptable. That's why International Women’s Day is just as important today as it was 46 years ago. And that's why why we really, really, really don’t need to know when International Men’s Day is.
In the words of bell hooks, “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression,” and “feminist thinking teaches us all, especially, how to love justice and freedom in ways that foster and affirm life.” I am far from a perfect feminist but I’m trying my best (so bear with), and I know that educating one’s self on the various gender inequalities is as good a place as any to start. That being said, we’re just your friendly neighbourhood recipe website and think that it’s probably best to leave that education to the trained professionals over at Amnesty International, Rights of Women, Human Rights Watch, and many of the other wonderful organisations doing important work in the field.
Sticking to our lane, and placing a focus on the potential power of food and drink to transcend gender boundaries and hierarchies, we thought we’d take this opportunity to celebrate some of the brilliant women working in the hospitality industry. We were lucky enough to speak to a range of talented chefs, cooks, and cookbook authors and got them, in their own words, to tell us about the women who have inspired them the most in their lives.
Here’s what they had to say: