The Poems that Inspired us on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate and to #BreakTheBias. Today we’re imagining a gender equal world; free of discrimination and stereotypes, where diversity and inclusivity is celebrated. At Hawkwood we are proud to celebrate diversity with our inspiring artists, tutors and colleagues.

The following poem; “in the spirit of intl women’s day”, written by Rupi Kaur, is the perfect way to kick us off. It speaks to us about beliving in ourselves and not requiring the words of others to give us worth. We are all worth so much more when we believe in ourselves.











in the spirit of intl women’s day

From across the African diaspora, we find Yrsa Daley-Ward’s poetry; bold, candid and profound, it celebrates the words of women worldwide and from all backgrounds. This piece, written as part of a collab for an earlier IWD is still just as relevant today.

The second poem we have is The Journey, by Mary Oliver, follows the same theme. It’s often hard to realise your own worth, especially when others have their own ideas about you, but it’s always important to realise your own merits. Nothing anyone says can ever stop you being you, and only through being you can you break the biases around you.

“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.”

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

The last thought I’d like to leave you with today isn’t a poem, but rather is a quote. This final statement, said by Gloria Anzadúla, is a motto to live by. Regardless of what challenges may come our way, we will always have the strength to face them. Through togetherness, belief and strength we can #BreakTheBias.

“Though we tremble before uncertain futures, may we meet illness, death, and adversity with strength. May we dance in the face of our fears.”

– Gloria Anzaldúa


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