Handmade Knickers And Tinder Feminism: Be Inspired!

Hurrah! It’s International Women’s Day. We wanted to celebrate the women who are changing their lives – and yours – this year…

‘I’m Using My Cancer To Make Other Sufferers Feel Beautiful’

Andrea Pellegrini, 39, from Harrow, gives beauty advice on her YouTube channel Baldly Beautiful

‘It was my husband Paul’s idea to set up the channel – I’m a make-up artist and after I was diagnosed with cancer last year, he suggested I show others how to cover up the side-effects of chemo. I wasn’t so sure – I was losing my hair and didn’t like the idea of the world seeing me. But I began filming videos once a week, discussing topics from penciling in your eyebrows to tying headscarves and what kind of makeup was best when your skin was sensitive, etc. I got floods of emails from women saying how the videos had given them confidence. Six months on, I’m approaching the end of my treatment but it’s not easy – there’s always that dark thought in the back of your head. But filming helps me to look forwards – after all, I’m giving other people a little boost when they need it most.’


Sahar and her friends have been filming life in Kabul despite the risks

‘We’re Risking Everything To Show Our Daily Struggle As Girls In Afghanistan’

Nargis Azaryun, 22, and sisters Sahar Fetrat, 19, Sadaf Fetrat, 23, are young filmmakers who have lifted the lid on what war-torn life in Kabul is like for women in a short YouTube film

This trio of young filmmakers decided to record their everyday life over a two-year period – throughout 2012 and 2013 – to showcase what’s really like to live in a country ravaged by armed conflicts and where fighting breaks out daily. Alongside the constant fear of war, the trio also have to face harassment from men who, everywhere they turn, show outrage at the fact they don’t wear traditional female dress, and are driving and using cameras in public places. ‘It’s hard for all walks of life in Afghanistan, but it’s especially hard for women,’ says Nargis. ‘The situation for women in Afghanistan is unacceptable to me, adds Sahar. ‘If we don’t say anything, no one else will either.’


Becky John recently launched underwear company Who Makes Your Pants



‘My Fashion Line Is Changing Vulnerable Women’s Lives’

Becky John, 38, lives in Southampton and is the founder and managing director of Who Made Your Pants?

‘Most people want to help others, they just don’t know how. With ‘Who Made Your Pants?’ I aim to change this. It’s a small lingerie company, run by me and based in Southampton, but we give jobs to women – mostly refugees from war-torn countries, including Afghanistan and Somalia. But this way, if you want to buy knickers, you can order them from us, and help somebody else at the same time. We make all our pants from excess fabrics sold on by big underwear companies and provide a safe, happy environment for these women to work in. One woman came up to me the other day and said: “This is my favourite place in the whole world.” It was a brilliant moment.’


anessa Sanyauke is inspiring young girls to fight gender stereotypes


‘I Want To Help Young Women Break The Glass Ceiling’

Vanessa Sanyauke, 27, is the founder of Girls Talk London, a service that connects young women with senior women in competitive or male-dominated industries

‘We’re currently living in a country where women and men still aren’t equal. And it’s only getting worse: young girls are increasingly taught to aspire to be bad at maths and good at being princesses. It was this reality along with the belief that the only way to change our future is to encourage the younger female generation, that inspired me to set up Girls Talk London in 2012. I asked some women I knew who work in the City to give a talk to a group of schoolgirls, who asked them openly and honestly about how they got to where they are today. The talk was a hit and since then I’ve had a huge variety of speakers, including singer VV Brown and MP Diane Abbott. The talks have helped so many young women, and I regularly receive emails from those whose lives I have directly affected. It’s amazing.’


Laura Nowak is confronting misogynist men on Tinder

‘I’m Inspiring Men To Be Feminists… Through Tinder’

Laura Nowak, 24, from Toronto in Canada, set up feminist social media account, Feminists on Tinder

‘I wanted to document male reactions to feminist issues,’ Laura tells LOOK. And how does she do this? Using Tinder, of course! Laura starts conversations with the men she matches with on topics raging from who pays for dinner to equal pay, and then posts the screenshots online. The results, she says, have been mixed. But when she’s greeted with misogyny, instead of ignoring or blocking the men, Laura chooses to point out where they have gone wrong, in the hope they’ll show the next woman they match with a bit more respect. Taking down sexism on Tinder one man at a time? We love your style, Laura!

By Catriona Innes and Yasmin Robert