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International Women’s Day & what it means to me

International Women’s Day March 8th 2018

I was recently asked to write an article for a local baby magazine on the importance of IWD and what it means to me so here goes, I hope you enjoy xx

February 6th this year marked 100 years since the representation of the people act was brought to law, which allowed women a vote for the first time. It was a heavily restricted vote but nonetheless it was a start. Fast forward ten years and women finally received the right to vote in the same way as men.  So being asked to write this article on such a poignant year for another landmark date in women’s history gave me a great sense of honour and pride. Whatever small contribution I can make to mark the celebrations is to me an absolute privilege.

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world each year on the 8th March and dates back as far as the early 1900’s. The first day of its kind was held in New York in 1909 and on March 8, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office, they also protested against employment sex discrimination.  By 1914, 8th March was marked as the official IWD worldwide.

The day celebrates women’s achievements from political to social, while continuing to call for gender equality.

Female empowerment and what it means to be a woman have always been hugely important to me and as a mother to three boys and one girl I feel a great responsibility to teach my daughter what to expect and demand as a female and my sons the importance of gender equality and the appropriate treatment of women.

Finding myself a single mum the first time round meant needing a resource to support me and my family, which came in the form of my first ‘real’ business Tikkity Boo. I set this business up whilst pregnant with my second child and opened the doors with him strapped to me on a baby sling. It was a crazy time but so worth all the effort.

I was very fortunate to enjoy seven amazing years running the business and achieved great success but unfortunately the journey was cut short by an armed robbery at my store.

Getting over the feeling of vulnerability and just feeling scared all of the time meant I lost the confidence to run the business and had to close. Its taken me seven years and a change in circumstance to step back out there and set up a new one, even though those feelings will always be there, buried under the surface.

The idea and strength for the business came from me, again finding myself alone, only this time with four children, two of which were tiny babies. I felt like I had something to prove and was desperate for my independence so set up my new store Barney & Beau.

Barney & Beau was born out of my frustration at the lack of unique and exciting products available locally for my two babies and having to always shop online which as a mum has its convenience but also that desire to sometimes just be able to go take a look and feel before buying.

We’re a kids lifestyle store stocking design led, modern products for both kids and the home. Our core values are around the empowerment and support of our fellow female and a very high percentage of our suppliers are fellow mums/women, owning and running their own businesses.  If theres a suitable product for the store I will always favour the brand that is run by a fellow mum/women and actively seek out such brands.

Named after my two youngest boys makes it even more special and having my older teens involved helping out at the shop makes it a real family affair.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far and want to show others, even when you reach the bottom, with hard work, passion and perseverance you can start making that journey upwards.

My children are the reason I do what I do, its my job to show them all whatever life throws at you, you stand tall, strong and undefeated and you get out there and reach for the stars!  I’m very lucky to have an amazing role model in my mother who taught me to have a positive work ethic, and manage difficult situations with dignity and strength regardless how hard they are.

Happy International Women’s day to all the Super Women out there xx

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