Giving Women a Voice

We are celebrating International Women's Day talking to local women about what this day means to them.


Tracy Clark 
Endurance Swimmer

What inspired you to do what you do? 

When I was 13 Sandra Blewett from my native New Zealand swam the English Channel in 1983.  I was so in awe.  I didn't really understand what this challenge consisted of.  I told my parents I wanted to do this one day.  My father told me not to be so bloody stupid and I should pick a goal I knew I could achieve.  30 years and 8 days later I did swim the English Channel in a time of 12 hours and 46 minutes when I was 43.  This has led to other big swims and the swim camps I run in Dover and South Africa. 


What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

For me it was giving a lifetime to my family and realising I hadn't put my own dreams first.  Life often gets in the way and causes us to lose sight of our own dreams.  My sons have been incredibly supportive.  Every big swim I do I imagine phoning them at the end and saying 'mum did it'.  They are now chasing their own dreams which makes me so proud.


What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them? 

Doubters!!! The English Channel was my first big swim and I had 16 months to prepare for it and get used to swimming in cold as you are not allowed a wetsuit.  Life is all about turning negatives into positives whatever is thrown at you.  I used the doubters to spur me on when things got tough.


What message would you like to tell other people this International Women's Day? 

Be kind to each other.  Be supportive of each other.  There is no better supportive community than the swimming community.  Encourage others to follow their dreams whatever they are or whatever their age.  We are never too old to chase our dreams.

Find out more about Tracy via: Instragam / Website

Serena Fordham
Founder and Managing Director of Her Business Revolution

What inspired you to do what you do? 

When I started HER Business Revolution back in 2015 I recognised the need for a supportive platform for business women that encompassed both offline networking and events, as well as online collaboration opportunities and training.  

As a female business owner raising young children and juggling family life my personal wellbeing and mental health have struggled at times, and the solution was to find and surround myself with like-minded women who were facing similar struggles in order to share, support, guide and uplift each other. 

This is why HER Business Revolution has evolved into much more than a business networking group where it started, and now involves body, lifestyle, wellbeing, mindset, confidence and self-esteem training, advice and coaching, as well as simple, straightforward and effective business strategy training to help Female Entrepreneurs grow and develop successful and sustainable businesses.


What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

I would say the biggest issues women my age face are difficulties in juggling home/family and working/business life. 

Many women wear so many 'hats' (i.e. have so many responsibilities - whether caring for children/other relatives, home chores, errands, employment, running businesses, etc, etc), therefore a lack of one defined identity in a society that likes to put labels on things, alongside the stress and pressure of delivering all these responsibilities to a high standard that society expects of women, means that mental health illnesses, low levels of confidence and self-esteem, and poor personal wellbeing are all huge issues women from their early 30's face. 


What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them? 

In addition to what I have already mentioned relating to mental health and wellbeing, I would say the biggest barrier I have faced is men calling me 'sexist'. 


Some men haven't liked that I'm a woman that is openly a 'feminist', as somehow this feels threatening - but I always explain that feminism is wanting men and women to be equal in society, therefore I help women to rise and to benefit from the same opportunities and rights as men (I don't at all encourage women to be disrespectable or negative to the male gender in any way, shape or form).


All businesses have different target markets and conduct marketing activities to attract their's, and HER Business Revolution is no different - it has the ideal client of Business Women and Female Entrepreneurs, so offers and promotes products and services that appeal to them.  Somehow, this is often seen as 'sexist', however it would make no business sense for any business to try and cater for every single person on this planet!


What message would you like to tell other people this International Women's Day? 

Always be your honest, real and authentic self, and you will attract the people that you are meant to be friends with/work with/collaborate with/etc.  Plus, if you can be just one thing, BE KIND, especially as you never know what other people are going through.  This also includes being kind to yourself! Kindness doesn't cost anything, but it could have the biggest impact on just one person - and also makes the world a much better and happier place.

Find out more about me and HER Business Revolution, and join our super-supportive community at

Find out more about Serena via: Instragam / Twitter


Gracie Wright
Singer-Songwriter and Award Winning Author

What inspired you to do what you do? 

I'm greatly inspired by children, my heart wants to connect, love and help others through creativity and words. When I see a small child filled with joy or being able to identify with something I've written, a story that I am sharing about Silly Eric or something else, it's as though a treasured gift has been exchanged between us both and I know I want to keep creating children's books. And of course the strong powerful women around me. 


What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

I would suggest that it may be the importance we place on our value.  For example; it can appear we are 'only valuable' if we are successful, or if we have the perfect hair, outfit, toned body, are married and have a family, eating the most trending foods, or the amount of money we make, the likes we have on Instagram etc. We've put so much pressure on our outward appearance, then we wrap it all together in one package and call it our value.

But we are so much more, we are alive, we have purpose, we are priceless! We are valuable just because we are! Maybe we need to look deeper into why and where we get our validation from,  it all hinges on that. 

Perhaps, we need to look at our hearts and see they need healing before we are able to love ourselves fully.

Perhaps if we can love ourselves right where we are. Then perhaps, the stress of all of these things would subside. 

I wonder if we are kinder to ourselves then we will do things differently. 

Also, comparison is a dangerous road being travelled by many at the moment, which leads to a lot of self-hate and criticism - look at stories we are hearing from women that have come to the end of loving themselves, like the tragic news about Caroline Flack. Such sadness. This should not have been her story. 

Hopefully, it will never be yours! Remember that you are amazing just the way you are, don't worry about everyone else,  being unique is the best way to be you! 


What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them? 

From a young age, my wild entrepreneurial side was perhaps not always taken seriously. Especially by business men. My observations were that a lot of big deals were done on the golf course, through relationships but if I'm not a man how do I form these? although that's going back 15 years - I feel a lot has changed since then.

Of course as I matured, it has changed and people began to respect an honour the battles that I've overcome through brain injury and my turning that into my success story. And with the help of the Prince's Trust and other strong women more people are being helped through the work I do. 


I would look at my goals, the books I had written and recall why I was doing it and say, "I can do this" and I would think of who Jesus says I am in the bible and I would know that I will do this. 

I am grateful for every trial, as it has made me stronger and sharpened my response to the world. 


What message would you like to tell other people this International Women's Day? 

Please surround yourself with people that believe in you and your dreams, they are the ones that will champion you when things get tough. Also, ladies, we are all amazing! When we unite as one we can do anything, let's support and encourage each other as leaders in our fields and stop the negative comparison.

Carry on being you, whatever your biggest challenge is, it will always be your biggest victory.

Find out more about Gracie via: Instragam / Twitter / Website


We would also like to celebrate the day by talking about one of our local charities, The Magdalene Group, an organisation who supports vulnerable and socially excluded women.

Suzi Heybourne

Our Doorway Women’s Service works with the most vulnerable and socially excluded women in society who struggle to cope with multiple disadvantages and  complex needs, whilst experiencing exploitation and coercion. Vulnerable women who live in our communities are often hidden and caught up in a spiral of  debt, addiction, offending, abusive relationships and mental and physical ill health. 


“I came here for long-term support, mostly for my mental health.  I fell through everyone else’s net because I have lots of issues …I’m completely hidden!”  Tracey 2019


Many of the women we work with are isolated with no healthy relationships  with partners, family or friends. Our Doorway service provides flexible engagement to build trusted relationships with women through our range of front line services ensuring we support the underlying issues of sexual violence, coercion and control. Building trusted relationships with vulnerable women is the platform to enable them to address their identified problems. Embedding a trauma informed approach allows the women to stay at the centre of the support they need. We understand the psychological impact of sexual exploitation and enable women and girls to embark on a path of recovery from trauma and situations that continue to be coercive, controlling and exploitative.  Interventions are tailored to the needs of each woman, working at their pace and capacity.


“I can be honest with you, you never judge me, you’ve seen me in my good times and bad, in prison and on the streets, you’ve always been there....I left care at 16 and had no one, your’e like the family I never had. I love you guys!” Ruth 2019


Our work in supporting women affected by sexual exploitation, trafficking and coercion is amongst the most hard hitting anyone is likely to experience. Our staff team has an unfailing positive attitude and trauma informed approach, they have to make numerous judgements and respond to crisis in order to make a difference in  their work with vulnerable women. We witness the long lasting impact of gender based violence and exploitation however we often see that this results in the criminalisation of women, their experience of multiple disadvantage continues to perpetuate this hostile culture.

At this time the women's sector is giving women and girls from all backgrounds a voice and a platform for change however those that are hidden and face multiple disadvantages are still misunderstood within society. The women's movement, partnerships etc are vital in ensuring that they too have a voice. 


Find out more about The Magdalene Group and how to donate via their website.


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