Lifestyle

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2022

International Women’s Day, on 8th March, is a day that ignites inspiration across the globe through the achievements of inspirational and aspirational women. The first International Women’s Day was way back in 1911 and was centred around women’s rights to work, vote and hold public office. We’ve come a long way since then but we’ve still got a long way to go, which is why IWD is still very much a part of modern day culture. The theme for IWD 2022 is #BreakTheBias, so it’s about celebrating women’s achievements, fighting bias and creating a gender equal world. In honour of IWD, we’re spotlighting a whole load of women who are paving the way in their respective fields.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights”

Gloria Steinem

WE CHAT TO PILATES TEACHER LOTTIE MURPHY

Lottie is a pilates teacher from London and has been teaching classes and running events and retreats for almost a decade and in 2021 founded the Pilates App and Online Platform, LMP which now has 1,500 active members. Through her work, Lottie encourages people to have a healthy relationship with movement, their bodies and their minds. She is an advocate for mental health and has recently partnered with Women For Refugee Women to help raise money and awareness.

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

I think celebrating International Women’s Day is important because it encourages conversation and reflection. We’ve come so far but we have a long way to go. As a Londoner, I have felt uneasy during the recent violence shown towards women on our streets; I’ve had recent conversations with my girlfriends who still feel guilty asking for a raise even though they are invaluable to their companies and working more hours than ever. In 2022, I still see, hear and feel injustice every day. On a more positive note, this day allows us to share the voices of women from different backgrounds and ages and to honour incredible women who inspire us. 

Have you faced barriers or set-backs in your career being a woman and how did you overcome them?

I’ve always worked for myself and owned my own business and have sometimes struggled in the past with feeling like I am too soft to be assertive. I’ve learnt that to make an impact, you don’t need to become a harder, fiercer person. It’s not about who shouts the loudest. In my personal life, I left a challenging relationship in my mid twenties which was suffocating me. I lost my voice completely in that relationship but through the support network of women surrounding me was able to leave and find myself again. I’m so proud to be a woman.

Who inspires you in your career?

I am so lucky to have many deep female friendships in my life. These friendships are rooted in honesty and trust, in forgiveness and vulnerability. They are school teachers, therapists, Ted Talker’s, mothers and they all have such resilience and self awareness. In my career, I am inspired daily by my clients, members and followers- I am lucky enough to have a personal relationship with a lot of my online community who share with me battles that often seem unimaginable and yet they still step onto their mats and practice Pilates with me. They are my heroes and the reason I do what I do.

Do you have any advice for women joining the industry? 

I’m going to focus this answer on the segment of my career that involves social media. My advice would be to create a happy and welcoming space for yourself online- remember you can be in control of what media you consume, celebrate other women’s successes, support your friends’ businesses and only post and share what feels truly authentic to you. Let your soul sing through a platform that can sometimes feel soul-less.

Follow Lottie @lottiemurphy_

WE CHAT TO PASTRY CHEF RAVNEET GILL

Rav has worked as a pastry chef for eight years, studying at Le Cordon Bleu before working her way up the ranks in different pastry sections all over London – most notably St. JOHN, Llewelyn’s, Black Axe Mangal and Wild by Tart. Her first book, ‘The Pastry Chef’s Guide: The Secret to successful baking every time’ came out in 2020, and was followed up by ‘Sugar, I Love You’ in 2021. You might have seen her column in the Telegraph as well as on the telly as new judge on Channel 4’s Junior Bake Off alongside Liam Charles and host Harry Hill. And as if all that wasn’t enough, she also runs hospitality industry website Counter Talk.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate IWD? 

Being a woman automatically means that you start anything one step behind. Years of oppression, not being taken seriously and navigating the existing sexist and misogynistic systems are just some of the struggles that women (and especially women of colour) have to overcome in their personal and professional lives. We should be acknowledging these difficulties and celebrating women every single day of the year, however, it is lovely to have one day to really take a step back and celebrate ourselves and all of the women before us who have fought to make this a more equal world.

Have you faced any barriers or setbacks in your career being a woman and if so, how did you overcome them?

This is not so much a setback, but I’ve only recently gotten over the fear of talking about money. I believe that this has been ingrained in women particularly, in order to stop us from discussing pay and finding out that males who do the same job get paid a hell of a lot more… this happened to me when I worked in a primary school – I found out that a male friend in his first year of teaching (whom I helped massively) got paid more than I did whilst I was in my third year of teaching with extra responsibilities and being told that I’d ‘be a headteacher in 5 years time’. I think it hits a little bit differently when it is laid out in front of you like that…

Who inspires you in your career?

I really admire Berthe Morisot’s mission. She was a female artist who propagated the female gaze in the 1800s, showing women as seen by other women, as interesting subjects rather than sexualised or idealised objects. She painted women’s lives, telling so much more about their story other than just being the wife of a male…

This is a bit of a random one, but Matilda Djerf really inspires me! I love her colourful outlook on life, her beautiful photographs, check-ins with her mental health, her desire to be at the forefront of her brand and her drive to make her brand as inclusive as possible.

Do you have any advice for women joining the industry?

Don’t let anyone’s opinions of you or your work make you take a step back or think of yourself differently. Connect with other women, talk openly about opportunities and don’t let anyone invalidate your feelings. Keep believing in yourself, keep creating work that inspires you and the rest will come naturally!

Follow Rav @ravneeteats

WE CHAT TO FRANCESCA STRANGE FROM THE PROOF

Francesca Strange, founder of The Proof, is a self-taught cook and baker who was inspired by watching her Nonna create incredible sweet treats. Baking turned from a hobby into a lifelong passion and eventually into a business – her puddings became legendary amongst her freinds and fam, one order became two became ten, and then she had a pudding delivery business running from her East London kitchen. Now she’s got plans to open a proper store later this year so you’ll soon be able to pick up those sticky toffee puds, shag pile cakes and ‘Proofiteroles’ in person.

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Because women are amazing and hugely undercelebrated.  Even with the progress that has been made in recent years, it still feels like lip service is being paid to acknowledging the contribution women make to society – we are still fighting for equality in all aspects of life and its utterly exhausting.  By celebrating IWD we can shine a light on this contribution around the world and build on this progress a little more by empowering each other and just shouting about what everyone is doing. Its hugely positive.

Have you faced barriers or set-backs in your career being a woman and how did you overcome them?

Yes.  I have previously worked in male-dominated industries where my voice wasn’t taken seriously because I was a woman, despite being the most driven, experienced, and accomplished in the room.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel empowered enough to make myself heard and accepted the way it was which is soul destroying to think about now.  But in particular, when I became a mother, I experienced huge setbacks.  I was even told once in a review that my ambition couldn’t be realised because I had chosen to become a mum and that was the sacrifice I had made. Aka The Motherhood penalty. I am certain the same sentiment would haven’t been vocalised to a man who decided to become a dad.  Being a mum apparently meant I couldn’t be ambitious when ultimately it was the drive to make me even more so.  That was a positive thing in the end because it pushed me to leave and start The Proof and set my own terms for my career.

Who inspires you in your career?

I am inspired by so many people but especially women who are starting again in life.  Whether that’s because they have had kids, just decided to try something new or been forced down a new path for whatever reason. These are often women who took huge leaps of faith and I love hearing about their journeys, good days and bad because its authentic.  It’s a reminder to keep going even when the reality of how tough running a business hits home to me.  But honestly, my Instagram feed is filled with so many women doing their thing brilliantly in different industries and that’s both reaffirming and motivating and helps to keep my own internalised imposter syndrome at bay.

Do you have any advice for women joining the industry? 

If you have an idea or a desire to join the industry in any way then just start somewhere, you just have to commit and trust in yourself.   I started in my home kitchen and taught myself to bake slowly.  That’s the best advice I can give because just going for it, trusting yourself and recognising that your intuition is a very underrated superpower that you can always rely on.  Don’t worry about your experience, training or ability, most things can be learnt if you want to learn it and if you need any help, advice, or support there are many people like me who will be happy to lend a hand so never be afraid to ask! 

Follow Fran @theproofpuddings

WE CHAT TO ARTIST HARLIE BRIGGS

Harlie is an artist, and finds contentment in painting the female form, particularly because historically, men painted women for the pleasure of the male gaze. From her gaze, it it more of an admiration and a chance to celebrate these women and their bodies, instead of sexualising them. Harlie also finds a slice of calm in painting large abstract nature paintings, inspired by nature and the world around her.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate IWD? 

Being a woman automatically means that you start anything one step behind. Years of oppression, not being taken seriously and navigating the existing sexist and misogynistic systems are just some of the struggles that women (and especially women of colour) have to overcome in their personal and professional lives. We should be acknowledging these difficulties and celebrating women every single day of the year, however, it is lovely to have one day to really take a step back and celebrate ourselves and all of the women before us who have fought to make this a more equal world.

Have you faced any barriers or setbacks in your career being a woman and if so, how did you overcome them?

This is not so much a setback, but I’ve only recently gotten over the fear of talking about money. I believe that this has been ingrained in women particularly, in order to stop us from discussing pay and finding out that males who do the same job get paid a hell of a lot more… this happened to me when I worked in a primary school – I found out that a male friend in his first year of teaching (whom I helped massively) got paid more than I did whilst I was in my third year of teaching with extra responsibilities and being told that I’d ‘be a headteacher in 5 years time’. I think it hits a little bit differently when it is laid out in front of you like that…

Who inspires you in your career?

I really admire Berthe Morisot’s mission. She was a female artist who propagated the female gaze in the 1800s, showing women as seen by other women, as interesting subjects rather than sexualised or idealised objects. She painted women’s lives, telling so much more about their story other than just being the wife of a male…

This is a bit of a random one, but Matilda Djerf really inspires me! I love her colourful outlook on life, her beautiful photographs, check-ins with her mental health, her desire to be at the forefront of her brand and her drive to make her brand as inclusive as possible.

Do you have any advice for women joining the industry?

Don’t let anyone’s opinions of you or your work make you take a step back or think of yourself differently. Connect with other women, talk openly about opportunities and don’t let anyone invalidate your feelings. Keep believing in yourself, keep creating work that inspires you and the rest will come naturally!

Follow Harlie @harliebriggsart_


LOTI DIARY | London On The Inside

MEET OUR CO-FOUNDER JULES

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

Jules is not only the Co-Founder of this very website London On The Inside and VP of F&B Development at Ennismore, a global hospitality company which means she is fully immersed in food, drinks and hotels. Imagine eating, drinking and travelling for work, what could be better than that?

The gender balance still isn’t quite there yet so raising awareness of women doing great things across all industries continuously can only be a good thing. Forget IWD and make it IWY.

Have you faced barriers or setbacks in your career being a woman and how did they overcome them?

I have and still do face barriers, I find it difficult sometimes but I try to not shy away from questions and retreat which is so easy to do – even when you know the answers. Instead, I remain calm cool and collected (or try to – I’m a Northerner) and ensure I speak up so my voice is heard.

Who inspires you in your career?

I love what Kelly Wearstler is doing with the Proper Hotels brand – such great design, one of my fave out there. I’m inspired by Ravneet Gill (don’t worry we weren’t paid to select each other!) but she’s a real machine and her work with Counter Talk, shining a light on incredible people in hospitality and making the industry a better place to work is amazing. I’m also constantly amazed by Anna Sebastian’s black book of contacts and her stamina behind and in front of the bar and my friend Juliet Kinsman who’s always flying the flag for sustainable travel. Not forgetting my LOTI team which is a full girl squad (excusing Ben) which I’m pretty damn proud of.

Any advice for women joining the industry?

Speak up – easier said than done I know, but there’s plenty of men with a lot to say and loud voices. It can be pretty daunting when you’re the only woman at the table but don’t be afraid to throw in your 2 pence. Always. 

Follow Jules @jules_loti

WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL 2022