Thursday 8th March marks International Women’s Day – the day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world!

And for those of us celebrating in the UK, this year’s International Women’s Day is particularly special as 2018 marked 100 years since some women in the UK were granted suffrage – that’s the right to vote!

We’ve listed some inspiring female expats who have paved the way for women’s rights in the UK and around the globe.

Warning: this blog contains some serious #GirlPower. In fact, you may need to call your mums, sisters, aunties, wives, girlfriends etc. immediately after reading – so keep your phone handy!

Meghan Markle (born 1981)

American actress Meghan – who now calls Kensington Palace home – is quickly becoming one of the most famous women in the UK (and the world!), but what you may not know that she’s long been involved with humanitarian work. She’s campaigned fiercely for women’s rights as part of her Women’s Advocate role for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. She’s been Global Ambassador for World Vision, supporting the charity’s Clean Water Campaign and raising awareness of women’s menstrual health in India, where sanitary products aren’t so readily available. We are looking forward to seeing her wedding with Prince Harry!

Camila Batmanghelidjh (born 1963)

Camila Batmanghelidjh

Camila left Iran to seek asylum in the UK as a child. Since then she has worked to improve the lives of British children, setting up London charities Kids Company and Place2Be, that support children with psychotherapy and counselling services. Place2Be even has a royal patron in Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Oprah Winfrey (born 1954)

Oprah winfrey

From her humble beginnings as the daughter to a poor single mother in Mississippi, she has turned her life around to become a successful and generous philanthropist, as well as becoming what she is most known for… a bubbly and charismatic talk show host! She has both popularised and revolutionised the talk show genre. Now…how do we get on her show?

Valerie Amos (born 1954)

Valerie Amos

Baroness Amos was born in Guyana before moving to the UK, where she has carved an incredible career in British politics. She became Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission in 1989, before being made a Labour Life Peer in 1997 and a minister under Tony Blair a year later. In 2003, she became International Development Secretary!

Dame Zaha Hadid (1950 – 2016)

Dame Zaha Hadid

The award-winning architect was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to London to study and became a British citizen. Zaha worked on some of the UK’s most famous buildings (such as the London Aquatics Centre built for the 2012 Olympics) and was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She received the UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011.

Mary Seacole (1805 – 1881)

Mary Seacole

Jamaican-born Mary defied social expectations by self-training as a nurse and caring for sick and injured soldiers during the Crimean War. She opened a “British Hotel” near to the battlefield where soldiers could rest, buy hot food, drinks and equipment, using the money she made to fund the treatment of the sick. She spent a lot of time in UK between her travels, including in her London home in Paddington.

Don’t forget to reach out to the incredible women in your life on 8th March by giving them a call, text or video call, to tell them how amazing they are! Thanks to Lebara Mobile’s cheap international calls and free SIM cards, you’ll be able to tell them every day!