Celebrating International Women's Day

By BBC Maestro

Last updated: 06 March 2023

Each year, International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe and highlights the achievements of women while also raising awareness of continued inequalities.

In the spirit of championing women, we’ve collected quotes from our female Maestri to inspire and motivate you to face life’s challenges, embrace your ambitions and find the strength to reach for your goals. 


Don’t do it alone

If you’re a woman with dreams and ambitions, you may feel like you have to do it all yourself. But it’s important to remember there are people in your life there to support you. 
Julia Donaldson, author of popular children’s books The Gruffalo, Stick Man and many more, highlights the importance of having a circle of people around you who encourage and champion you - especially when your motivation is low. 
“In case you were wondering if [writing is] this joyful existence - no, it’s not. It is blood, sweat and tears, it is a struggle,” says Julia in her BBC Maestro course, Writing Children’s Picture Books. “I do tend to always think I just can't do it this time… luckily I've got a husband who says ‘Oh, you always say that, of course you will’.” 

Julia Donaldson

Carve your own path

At a young age, Malorie Blackman spotted under representation in the fiction she was reading - so she decided to be a catalyst for change. 
“I spent practically every Saturday from the age of 7 to 14 in my local library,” says Malorie, in her BBC Maestro writing course. “In all those thousands of books, over all those years, I never read a single book that featured a black character. So, I started writing my own.” 
Today, Malorie has a writing career spanning 30 years and has published over 70 books, including Noughts & Crosses, which was later turned into a successful BBC television drama.



Challenge the status quo

No matter what industry you work in, there will always be an element of the status quo. If you try to challenge something, you may be met with the response - that’s just the way it’s always been.  
Sometimes standing up and challenging the status quo can be daunting, but it’s one way that women can truly forge a path for one another - particularly in traditionally male-dominated industries. Like former Poet Laureate and T.S. Elliot Prizewinner, Carol Ann Duffy, who decided to go against the grain and create a poetry collection featuring only women writers. 
“When I was growing up, very few anthologies had women poets in them,” says Carol Ann in her BBC Maestro course on writing poetry. “So, I decided to put together a book. And I deliberately had only women poets. This was very important for me to do as a poet, because if you want to help people write then you have to encourage them to read.” 

Doreen Lawrence

Build your confidence

We all understand how important confidence is. But if you’re feeling low in confidence, what’s the best way to build yourself up? 
Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence and a champion of monumental law change in the UK, says: “I believe that once you educate yourself, that can take you anywhere in the world, and it gives you that inner confidence.” 
In Doreen’s BBC Maestro course, Finding The Inner Strength, she says “when I first went into the House of Lords that was a nerve-wracking environment, for someone like me it was very out of my comfort zone.” 
She adds that “I would advise anybody that’s been put into a situation where they feel not worthy, just take a deep breath and dive in - because it gets easier. It takes practise to build confidence.”


Pursue your passion

Feeling inspired by some of these perspectives? Make today the day you start to pursue your own goals and find further inspiration in our range of online courses.