Listen Up Girls, Persistence Pays Off
As you are probably aware, International Women’s Day has just passed. It is there to celebrate women. All women. Women in every corner of the earth. Women of every shape, size, color, religion and background. It is there to identify achievements and struggles and to highlight the gender gap, both in terms of equality and perception, and that is so important.
Yes, huge progress has been made over the past few decades, but it is still not where it should be. Women are still massively underrepresented at board level, they still get paid 18% less on average and they still get disproportionately overlooked when it comes to promotion, whether consciously or not.Persistence does pay off and proves absolutely anything is possible.Click To Tweet
However, we want to inspire our readers and let them know it is entirely possible to go from rags to riches despite all of the obstacles we face. In fact, self-made female entrepreneurs are the fastest growing group of millionaires in developed countries, and we are going to celebrate some of their achievements here.
We hope these ladies will inspire you to break the glass ceiling, to prove persistence pays off and prove absolutely anything is possible.
Baroness Michelle Mone OBE
You have no doubt heard Michelle’s name, and that is because she is the co-founder and CEO of Ultimo and a parliamentarian. However, Baroness Mone grew up in a one-bedroom flat without a penny. In fact, her family was so poor that she started work when she was only 10 years old with a paper-round. She then started working in a fruit-shop at the age of 12. Then, to make matters worse, her father suffered an illness that left him paralyzed and unable to work, forcing Michelle to leave school without any qualifications in order to support her family.
By the time Michelle was 19 years old, she had become head of Sales and Marketing at Labatts, having worked her way up from intern after landing the job by lying on her CV. However, the company was bought out and Michelle was made redundant.
Then one day, while wearing an uncomfortable push-up bra and a dinner party, she made the decision that she could design and develop a better product, a better cleavage-enhancing bra, and so the idea for Ultimo was born. However, this took hard work and toil and is considered to be one of those companies that started in a garage. In fact, it took three years of researching and £100,000 in debt before she finally had a bra worthy of being called perfect. It was then a matter of marketing, which she did with unorthodox precision leading to 9 actresses getting arrested and her name getting into the public sphere.
No list would be complete without having JK Rowling on it, and that is because her roots are so often overlooked. However, it is a story that shows how far dogged determination because it took her seven years of thought before Harry Potter became a book. But there was a long battle before Harry Potter was even a thought.
You see, JK Rowling lost her mother, and decided to move to Portugal to become a teacher. There she married a Portuguese TV journalist and had a baby. But the marriage lasted less than a year. To make matters worse, she lost her job as a teacher, apparently for having her head in the clouds. So she and her daughter moved back to the UK, which is where they lived in a small flat, infested with mice, and barely able to survive on the small welfare check they received at the end of each week. In fact, they were so poor, they often went to local coffee shops to get warm because she couldn’t afford to heat their home. It was in these coffee shops that she ironed out her idea for Harry Potter.
Even then, the battle to get Harry Potter into the hands of the public was a battle – as all writers will know – where her original book got passed on by 12 publishers before it became the international sensation that it is today. Persistence really does pay off.
There is not a person on the planet that has not heard Oprah’s name, nor heard a story about her fortune or her generosity. But Oprah’s story started in a far from desirable way and remained undesirable for the first 14 years.
It started when Oprah’s parents separated, which happened when she was very young, forcing their hand and seeing her move in with her grandparents. Oprah speaks candidly about how she wore clothes made out of old vegetable sacks for the first six years of her life. That’s when she went back to living with her mother. However, things only got worse, for she was abused by family members until she went to live with her father at the age of fourteen.
This is where her circumstances changed. He was a very strict parent and would not accept anything but the best for his daughter; that included her having to achieve her best, and try her hardest and, if that wasn’t enough, she had to try again. It was a tough time and a tough upbringing, but the results were staggering.
Oprah became an honors student, secured a college scholarship and became the first ever African-American woman to become a news anchor. What’s more, she had only just turned nineteen when this happened. After this, she became a talk show host on a show called AM Chicago. She had the early morning show. It became such a success, it was turned into the Oprah Winfrey Show and now she has an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion.
These women are absolute inspirations and have proved how hard work and dedication can overcome the inequalities and hardships that women still face. However, women shouldn’t have to face more hardships than men, and that is what International Women’s Day aims to address. It aims to achieve full gender equality for women around the world, something that remains unrealized. That is why it is so important men and women come together to keep pushing forward in this realm, to keep inspiring each other, to keep motivating and encouraging each other.
Women all over the world are inspirations, and that is a cause worth celebrating.
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