Inspiring women across the world


Aoife Chew

Director, London

Categories Blog

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we still live in a world where women fight to be heard. At The Big Picture we’re in the privileged position to hear from women across the globe every day in our research.

In helping brands connect with their audience across cultures, we often hear how important the impact of relevant role models are.

Recently we spoke to women across Western Europe, Latin America, Russia and South East Asia and asked them which women they look up to.

Unsurprisingly – the likes of Rihanna, Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson consistently came up for their individuality and humanitarian voice.

It’s probably no shock that globally we all still look up to the courage and strength of our mothers and grandmothers as well as the code breaking women of their time; Simone De Beauvoir, Gertrude Bell, Rosalind Franklin and Frida Kahlo to name just a few.

Gertrude Bell, a British explorer, archeologist, political/diplomatic officer who travelled through some of the most remote and challenging parts of the world in the turn of the 20th century
Rosalind Franklin helped discover the structure of DNA and pioneered the use of X-ray diffraction

Some global icons continue to endure; the empathy of Princess Diana is name-checked in Russia and Mexico, Coco Chanel’s style and business empire in France and the philanthropy and elegance of Audrey Hepburn across all markets.

Even Mattel’s Barbie – hardly a feminist icon – is getting in on the act with its Inspiring Women doll series. The likes of US snowboard sensation Chloe Kim, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and filmmaker Patty Jenkins represent a very different type of Barbie girl.


But what really surprised us was the lack of contemporary role models that consumers mention; half the above are deceased. We need to create and rediscover new role models more urgently than ever.

Taraji P Henson brought NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson into public awareness through last year’s film Hidden Figures

Team GB’s Jessica Ennis Hill and Nicola Adams inspired a new generation of sports women

Malala rose to global recognition for demanding an education

Amazing and inspiring woman are out there in their droves and not getting the coverage they deserve – so let’s celebrate them today and everyday, and continue to give little girls across the globe relevant and inspiring icons to look up to!