IWD: Celebrating women with Kelly Knox

Strong, empowered, resilient: these are just some of the words that come to mind for Kelly Knox when she thinks about what it means to be a woman. For International Women’s Day, we speak to the model, mother and activist.

This International Women’s Day (IWD) the world will challenge the inequality and barriers that women face on a day-to-day basis. It is a key date in the fight for a gender equal world, but for model and activist Kelly Knox, 8 March also marks a day of appreciation.

“I think it’s a celebration of all the amazing things women do on a day-today basis,” explains Kelly. “I feel like it’s every woman’s birth right to have self-love and self-belief, and to be empowered by themselves.

“We have it all inside ourselves and there should be no barriers to what we can achieve.”

Overcome

The day is about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but it also marks a call for action in diminishing the barriers that currently exist.

“We face inequality anyway, but as a disabled woman that marginalisation, inequality and under representation is all heightened, we have so many more barriers and have to work that much harder to prove ourselves,” emphasises Kelly.

“I feel sometimes you get that label of disabled, and people just think of the negative words that associate with it, they don’t see the things we can do.”

This labelling is a factor contributing to the lack of representation of disabled women in mainstream media, something that became even more prevalent to Kelly when she was pregnant with her children, Jenson and Elsie.

Motherhood

“On a whole disabled people are amongst one of the most invisible in society and as a mother there are no images,” Kelly emphasises. “I thought why am I not represented as a mother?”

Parenting has only furthered the skills Kelly has from living with a limb difference, most notably enhancing her problem solving abilities. Since having Elsie, Kelly has modelled with her for multiple campaigns, helping to combat the lack of representation she felt.

#CHOOSETOCHALLENGE

The theme for IWD 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge, acknowledging the need for each individual to choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, and to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.

As her daughter grows up, Kelly hopes to teach her the value of celebrating achievements, she says: “I think for a long time in history for women there was that comparison and there wasn’t very much togetherness, I want the world to be different as she becomes a woman.”

Kelly’s message to other women in the lead up to IWD is clear: if you feel empowered then there is no limit to what you can achieve.

“You will face barriers, but you just have to keep pushing forward and do not dim your light for the benefit of others. Don’t make yourself small,” encourages Kelly.

On 8 March you can mark IWD by celebrating your achievements and other’s on social media using #ChooseToChallenge

You can follow Kelly Knox on Instagram @itskellyknox.

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