Changemakers Who Inspire Us on International Women’s Day
March 8, 2020
From educating underprivileged girls to fighting for the rights of indigenous people, these women all help to conserve life.
Each year on March 8, across the globe, International Women’s Day is celebrated to honor the achievements of women throughout history. At The White Feather Foundation, we work toward common goals alongside influential women each day. Today we pay tribute to these pioneers and thank them for their enormous contributions toward the betterment of life.
Traveling between the Seattle area of Washington state and Kenya, Hayden Bixby’s role as the International Program Coordinator for the Cura Orphanage includes many projects, such as scripting regular blog posts to help keep donors (and the public) up-to-date on the group’s progress. She explained how she first became connected to the orphanage in 2006 in an interview with Healing Hamlet, “I didn’t have a lot of extra funds to dedicate to charitable projects, but I knew I could contribute in other ways.” And that she did—going on to develop a sponsorship program and starting the website (which later included the blog). Today, she continues to write for the organization and work with local students and the Cura Board on a variety of on-site projects.
After the international adoption of her son, Samuel, Tamara Horton had the goal “to reach one girl by creating a ‘teach a man to fish’ platform, which would result in opportunity, steering girls away from all the common barriers prone to those living in poverty.” The result was Studio Samuel, which helps young Ethiopian girls by using a holistic approach to life skills, including counseling, healthcare, feminine hygiene, self-defense training and more. Read a recent interview we conducted with her on our White Feather Foundation news page.
Professor Judith Hall
As a Professor of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine at Cardiff University, it was on a fact-finding mission to rural Zambia that Professor Judith Hall discovered the dire situation for expectant mothers in the region. The maternal mortality rates were considerably high. She told BBC News, “We can’t do anything about the geography, and in the short term at least, we can’t do anything about the number of hospitals or the transport infrastructure. But we can stop women and babies dying for want of knowledge.” Now the charity she founded, Mothers of Africa, does just that. In addition, they provide schools and educational supplies for children to help overcome the cycle of poverty. The White Feather Foundation is currently partnering with the organization to Build a Nursery School in Zambia.
Hearing her father’s stories of his journeys in the merchant navy and watching Sir David Attenborough on television when she was young is what first inspired Sue Flood to become a photographer. Now, she’s an award-winning expert in her field with over 50 trips to the polar region—and serves as a Global Ambassador for The White Feather Foundation. Her most recent book, Emperor: The Perfect Penguin features over 200 photos of the species Flood spent many hours observing in the field. When asked by My Modern Met why the Emperors make such good subjects, she replied, “They are, quite simply, the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen.”
A marine conservation officer and producer for years, diver Jo Ruxton left the security of her successful career behind to direct and produce the documentary A Plastic Ocean. The film brought international awareness to the plastic pollution crises and won numerous awards for its efforts. She continues the fight, lobbying against single-use plastics and remarking to The Telegraph, “Recycling isn’t enough.” Haven’t yet seen the film? It’s available on streaming platforms worldwide.
Dr. Susan M. Manzi
Keeping a photo of a young patient she lost with her at all times gives Dr. Susan M. Manzi, Chair of the Lupus Foundation Board of Directors, the motivation to “never let that happen again.” She was drawn to research Lupus because it impacts so many young people (especially women). With this drive for progress, Manzi has developed into one of the most prominent pioneers in her field, helping to establish the world’s first Autoimmunity Institute just two years ago. She had inspiring words for fellow females in an interview with AARDA.org, “We as women need to help one another—embrace each other and help each other advance.”
Celebrated photographer and artist Deborah Anderson has for years produced iconic images that have graced walls worldwide. Recently, she channeled her creative energy into the Women of the White Buffalo film project, which chronicles the lives of indigenous Lakota women living on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Anderson told the Idyllwild Town Crier, “Signs and synchronicities led me to research Native life for this project and I immersed myself.” The film, which inspires action for the preservation of indigenous culture, has won two prominent awards in the festival circuit and is set to be released later this year.
As the Associate Director of The Turner Foundation, Vasser Seydell has an indisputable passion for the environment. Having visited 13 countries during her Semester at Sea, she gained a unique perspective on conservation, which helps fuel her activism. She recently remarked on her Instagram page, “For me, 2020 is about doing what I can to protect the oceans in the little time we have left to do something about it — from personal consumption choices, like cutting out single-use plastics and sea-food from my diet, to working on campaigns to save our oceans from large environmental threats.”
Dr. Beverly Goodman
As a renowned marine geoarchaeologist and professor, Dr. Beverly Goodman researches and reports findings on how the ocean landscape has evolved over time and investigates new ways to understand climate change. In her career, she’s been recognized as a Fulbright Scholar; a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and a Distinguished Alumni at Harper College. When asked by Ocean Exploration and Research how her work helps the public, she responded, “The past is a window into the future, and by reconstructing the histories of our coastline we can know what could be waiting for us in the future.”
The future is certainly brighter for all of us due to the work of these inspiring women. Please join us today in celebrating their accomplishments and supporting their work to #conservelife.
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Changemakers Who Inspire Us on International Women’s Day
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