IWD symbol, purple venus sign enclosing a fistInternational Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to women’s continued fight for liberation across the world. Harpymarx has written a comprehensive post detailing many of the reasons why this struggle continues, from the gender pay gap to the female face of poverty, the 78,000 women who die globally each year as a result of restricted abortion access to the violence and neglect experienced by refugee and asylum seeking women. However, it’s also a day to celebrate women, to put women centre stage and highlight all the wonderful things women do that so often go unnoticed and unappreciated.

With that in mind, I’d like to tell you about one of the wonderful women in my life: my sister, Louise (on the left).

I used to think it was hard being Louise’s sister. As an angsty, awkward, Gothy teen, I was jealous of her popularity, her beauty and her ability to stand up for herself and her right to be happy and independent. She always knew what was best for her, and she made sure she got it. I think a lot of women could do with a dose of Louise’s self belief; I certainly needed it.

Photo of Laura and Louise. Louise is white, has multi-coloured braided hair and a lip piercing.When I left home, our relationship changed. We no longer took each other for granted. We became friends, and my teenage jealousy turned to admiration and respect. Louise’s energy, exuberance and ability to put a smile on the face of every person in the room is a delight to behold. Her steadfast refusal to let fear of what other people think affect her behaviour or life choices, combined with a genuine desire to spread happiness and positivity, has been a real inspiration. It’s helped me get over my teenage insecurities and become the person I am today.

Whether it’s in the work she does on a daily basis, as a home help and child carer for two women with chronic illnesses, chatting away at a family gathering, taking stunning photos of the Sussex countryside, wowing the dance floor with mind-bogglingly bizarre moves, whipping up a veggie storm in the kitchen, or trouncing me at Monopoly (yeah right!), Louise injects everything with passion and verve. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Paulie, is a model of respect, love, friendship and fun that can only grow richer as the years go by, and I know they will make damn fine parents when the time comes.

It’s a real privilege to be her sister and to know she’s only a phone call away whenever I want to talk or need someone to sing an obscure 80s children’s song to. Love ya sisbean!

I’d love to hear about the wonderful women in your life; please share in comments!