International Women’s Day (IWD) marks a milestone in celebrating the triumphs of women who have battled for centuries for equal rights, equal pay, and gain the respect of their male counterparts. It was only 50 years ago when a female was not a female in her own right, but considered to be a man’s property; and if a female was pregnant without being married, it was a considered national scandal.

The very notion that women should participate in sport, lead a country, and even vote, was once rebuked .However, this represents the harsh reality women faced for centuries. IWD was officially launched in 1911 in Austria, Denmark and Germany to promote female status and camaraderie; and was chosen as March 8th globally two years later. 1914 marked women’s campaign against the First World War. The dawn of 1917 saw Russian women strike in a movement called ‘for bread and peace’ in protest to over two million deaths of Russian soldiers; which culminated in the Czar relinquishing the throne in fear of his safety.

IWD was officially recognised by the United Nations, which held conferences for decades to promote awareness. IWD is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries worldwide, with events and activities to represent the incredible strides women have made.

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Four incredible sports women who raised the bar.

Rebecca Adlington:

The 25 year old from Nottinghamshire make the world take notice in the 2008 Olympic Games, in the searing heat of Beijing with two gold medals (400 and 800 metres). She raised the bar as she was the first female gold medallist since Anita Lonsbourough in 1960. Although she was not able to replicate her two golds’ in the 2012 London games (she won two Bronze medals), ‘Becky’ set the gold standard for other female swimmers, showing that Britain had talent. She had her home swimming pool where she trained as a child (Sherwood Swimming Baths) renamed to ‘The Rebecca Adlington Swimming Cente’ as a mark of honour, and received an OBE in 2009.

Rebecca Addlington

Jessica Ennis Hill:

Born in Sheffield, she is the current Olympic champion in Pentathlon. Jessica deserves a mention as one of our incredible sports women as the pentathlon is probably the most gruelling event in Olympics, comprising of seven (yes, seven!!) different contests: 100 metre sprint, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin and 800metre track event. The event is so hard they even awarded her a CBE!! As well as demonstrating all the attribute that women can be efficient multi-taskers (strong, powerful, endurance), the fact that she won her first competition only a year after taking part in athletics back in 2000 demonstrates her dedication and will to succeed.

inspirational women's sports stories Victoria Pendleton

‘Queen Victoria’ raised the bar for female athletes by winning two golds and one silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, making her officially the most successful British athlete ever.  Her career had already demonstrated a rise to greatness prior to the 2012 games, where she had already won an incredible nine world titles since 2005. Unfortunately her relationship with her then coach, Scot Gardner (now her husband), caused issues within the British training camp, causing Scott to abdicate his role. Victoria deserves this accolade as she was not afraid to speak her mind of other team member who cast scorn on her relationship (deeming it unprofessional), and still went on to break records despite a lack of team unity.

Victoria_Pendleton

Zoe Smith:

Something of a surprise inclusion, the 19 year old British Weightlifter, who only weighs a mere 58 kg’s; broke the British record (London, 2012 games) for a demanding and explosive Olympic Lift: The clean and Jerk at 121kg’s!! That’s more than double her body weight. She started thrusting heavy weights over her head from 2008 where she was only 15 years old; winning the commonwealth games youth gold for the Clean and Jerk. She embodies the philosophy of International Womens day, in that that woman can be powerful, strong and send a message of intent. She also shows that women can indeed lift weights without being the big and bulky stereotype that many envisage.

Zoe Smith

 Take inspiration from these women and kick start your weight loss plan today!

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