If you’re looking for a little inspiration on International Women’s Day, then look no further than our list of inspiring women. From feminist icons and historical figures to Newcastle celebrities, women from a wide range of backgrounds have had a major influence on the North East. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of ten famous women from Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider North East, each of whom have left their mark on our region in their own unique way.

Grace Darling

Despite being born over 200 years ago, Grace Darling is still one of the most famous women from Newcastle to this day. Hailing from the picturesque Northumberland Coast, Grace grew up to become a widely celebrated figure of bravery. On 7 September 1838, Darling risked her life and rowed almost a mile out to sea during a violent storm to save nine stranded survivors of a shipwreck. Her extraordinary act of bravery made waves across the world and even sparked the interest of Queen Victoria. Grace was awarded a medal for her bravery and her memory lives on in the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh.

Emily Davison

Tenacious Emily Davison was a suffragette who devoted her adult life to campaigning for women’s right to vote. In 1906, Davison joined the women’s suffrage movement having been denied a degree at Oxford University. This is despite the fact she achieved first class honours in her final exams. Davison was tragically killed during the Epsom Derby in 1913, when an attempt to dress the king’s horse in suffragette ribbons saw her fatally injured. Now Davison is buried in her family plot in Morpeth.

Earlier this year, plans emerged to erect a statue in Emily Davison’s honour to celebrate the centenary of women getting the vote. So keep your eye out for this monument’s grand reveal in July 2018!

Josephine Bowes

Widely credited as a pioneer of the art world, French actress Josephine Bowes left her mark on the North East with The Bowes Museum over a century ago. Josephine dreamt of building a museum in the north of England. Although she spent most of her life in France, her love of the North East was encouraged during regular visits to her husband’s family estate in County Durham. Consequently, construction on The Bowes Museum began in 1869. Since then, this museum has become a jewel in the heart of Teesdale, and the historic building attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Dame Margaret Barbour

Exceptionally successful businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Margaret Barbour inherited the infamous clothing brand J. Barbour & Sons in 1968. Together with her daughter Helen Barbour, Dame Margaret established the Women’s Fund in 1999. The Women’s Fund encourages women in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland to achieve their full potential, particularly those who have faced adversity. Dame Margaret continued her commitment to women in the area by setting up The Nancy Barbour Award in 2000, in memory of her late mother-in-law. This award recognises organisations that give women the opportunity to have active roles in the community.

Alison Kay

Local hero Alison Kay left a lasting mark on the Newcastle community when an article on the death of a homeless man inspired her to set up The People’s Kitchen. Next to the railway arches by Dean Street, The People’s Kitchen has offered food, clothes, warmth and friendship to homeless and vulnerable people in Newcastle since 1985. For her commitment to helping those in need, Alison received an Honorary Degree from Newcastle University in 1997.

Steph Houghton MBE

England and Manchester City football captain Steph Houghton came from Durham, and was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her remarkable achievements in football. In 2015, Steph even led England to their first ever semi-final at the Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Savannah Marshall

Savannah Marshall, known in the boxing world as the ‘Silent Assassin,’ was born in Hartlepool. In 2012, Savannah secured Britain’s first ever women’s boxing world title. She followed up this staggering success in 2014 by winning a gold medal in the middleweight class at the Commonwealth Games.

Jade Thirwall

One quarter of X-Factor winning pop group Little Mix, Jade Thirwall proudly heralds from North Shields. Aside from her chart-topping musical accomplishments, Jade regularly encourages Little Mix fans to be themselves and celebrate individuality. Furthermore, this girl group often use their fame to raise money for the LGBTQ+ community. For example, Jade’s recent birthday party was a fundraiser for Stonewall, a charity dedicated to gender equality. As well as this, Jade and the band have explicitly labelled their song ‘Secret Love Song’ an anthem in ode to the LGBTQ+ community.

Kate Adie

High-profile news journalist Kate Adie was born in Whitley Bay. Whilst working as Chief News Correspondent for the BBC, she was one of the most well-known faces on television. Kate became widely admired for her reporting on international war zones, including the first Gulf War in Yugoslavia. In 1990, Kate won the Richard Dimbleby Award from BAFTA, which was quickly followed by an OBE in 1993.

Do you think there is anyone we missed out? Tweet us your favourite inspiring women from NewcastleGateshead and the North East today at @altweet_pet.

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