International Women’s Day is observed on 8 March each year, it is a time to recognise achievements from inspirational women all around the world.
This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquality, “to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action”.
In this blog we share five women that we admire from the vegan movement, in no particular order.
1. Lisa Gawthorne is a remarkable vegan athlete, author, and entrepreneur who won bronze medal at the most recent World Triathlon Multisport Championships, after her most impressive performance yet. Lisa competed in the sprint duathlon race, held in Romania, which involved a 5.7km run, followed by a 20km cycle and a final 2.5km run in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius. Having followed a vegan lifestyle since 2003, Lisa is dedicated to spreading the vegan message, proudly carrying our Vegan Society logo along with other vegan charities on her competing suit. Lisa is a fantastic example of how you can not only thrive on a vegan diet, but with hard work, training, and dedication, you can reach optimal performance. You can follow Lisa on Instagram to keep up to date on her latest victories!
2. Tomi Makanjuola is a chef and content creator of the award-winning platform, The Vegan Nigerian, where she shares mouth-watering recipes via beautiful imagery and engaging video content. Her content is perfect for anyone wanting to delve into Nigerian / West African cuisine and food culture. Tomi is also the author of the highly rated cookbook: Vegan Nigerian Kitchen, which features 100 classic recipes and was published during World Vegan Month in November 2021. On top of her online presence and book launch, she also shares her expertise in online team building workshops for organisations wishing to promote diversity and inclusion. In these cooking classes she brings people together to make and share a meal, to receive a cooking demonstration or to learn more about how to go vegan.
3. Poonam (aka Jess) Doshi founded Lola’s Sanctuary in West Sussex, UK and is the first Hindu Indian to have set up an animal rescue outside of India. The name Lola comes from a cat who was rescued from a life of breeding, Lola was the first cat that stepped out of her rescue carrier into the sanctuary. Since launching, the sanctuary has welcomed a team of dedicated volunteers and built a network of fosterers who care for hundreds of animals. They work with partners in the UK and in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. The sanctuary houses cats, dogs, and small mammals who have been abandoned, abused, and neglected – they provide a forever home for animals with special needs. If you would like to support their work you can check out their online shop, launched in October 2022 to offer their exclusive merchandise range, donate here, or find their Amazon Wishlist here, with all proceeds going to the sanctuary.
4. Doğa Giray is a member of Yaşamdan Yana Derneği (Stand with Life Association), a newly formed vegan association based in Turkey that is dedicated to ending the exploitation of animals. Yaşamdan Yana Derneği was recently awarded one of our grants as part of our international grant scheme. With the funds, they held a series of workshops and events across Ankara and Ismir (Turkey) to raise awareness and spread veganism. The project was such a success that it is planned to be repeated at a later date.
Doğa is also founder of Animal Save’s Turkey chapter, a network of activists who fight for animal liberation by exposing the connection between the individuals being exploited and the 'products' they become. After the recent earthquake in Turkey, Doğa, alongside other incredible volunteers from Animal Save Turkey and Yaşamdan Yana Derneği, rushed to help the animals who were trapped and abandoned amongst the rubble, assisting their medical care and transporting them to safety. The group have managed to rescue hundreds of animals and are currently raising money to secure their safety, undertake their treatments and continue their work. You can find out more about this GoFundMe.
5. Wenda Shehata sold her home to buy the land on which Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary sits, and it is home to cows, pigs, sheep, geese, cats and chickens. The most recent rescue was mother cow and her calf, together with a bull calf who was destined for beef production. They were surrendered by a farmer after months of negotiation and will be closely followed by the bull calf's mother and her new calf, once they are born. Hugletts Wood promotes sustainable and gentle living, to take only what is needed and being mindful of one’s footprint. Wenda prefers to let the work of the sanctuary speak for itself and focuses her efforts on the animal residents:
“As Veganism appears in the main, to have changed from what was originally a feminist refuge to become a masculine domain, hijacked by Corporates and championed by those who use it as a stage for self promotion, I prefer to remain in the shadows and give all my time to making life richer and kinder for those who make it to the sanctuary gates. It isn't me, who is important. It's the animals and birds who matter.”
This list is by no means exhaustive, we would love to hear about the women you are inspired by in the vegan movement, please share yours in the comments on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.