Women who inspire us to #BeBoldForChange
Published 8 Mar 2017
This year, the International Women’s Day theme is #BeBoldForChange. A call to action to achieve a better working world, to champion women’s education, to fight inequality and bias, forge advancement and campaign against violence.
It’s a fantastic initiative and one we strongly support here at Breast Cancer UK – equality, choice, education and a better quality of life are all essential principles that underpin the work we do. This work however, would not be possible were it not for the ground-breaking, inspiring and indeed bold actions of a number of key women who have gone before us.
This International Women’s Day, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the work of some of those women:
Rachel Carson was a writer, scientist and conservationist, whose work is widely credited with catalysing the global environmental movement. Her book, Silent Spring, published in 1962, detailed the damaging effects of synthetic pesticides on the environment and their links to cancer. In the book, she accused chemical companies of spreading disinformation and strongly criticised public officials for simply accepting industry claims that their chemicals were safe. Her research led to a US ban on DDT and the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rachel Carson died in 1964 after her own battle with breast cancer, but her work remains as relevant today as it did back then and millions (including Breast Cancer UK) continue her fight for better policies that help to protect human health and the environment.
Another scientist and author who took bold and inspiring action for change was Dr. Theo Colborn. Theo Colborn was a founder member of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, whose work to expose the dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals to wildlife, humans and the environment has helped change chemical laws for the better around the world. In 1988 Colborn published research which revealed how man-made chemicals found in animals were transferred to their offspring, and affected the development of their organs before they were born. This led to scientists across different disciplines sharing research and the subsequent publication of her book, Our Stolen Future. The book influenced US government policy and the development of research and regulation within the EPA.
It was the work of both of these women that helped to inspire our own founding members – women who themselves took bold action to try and make a difference and help protect future generations from the harmful chemicals that are polluting our environments and our bodies.
One of these women, our very own Clare Dimmer, was an avid campaigner and activist. Despite her own diagnosis with breast cancer, Clare played an active role in campaigning against some of the worst chemical offenders, such as the toxic pesticide, Lindane and was behind Breast Cancer UK’s successful campaign to get the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A banned from use in babies’ bottles.
This year’s International Women’s Day asks ‘what if the world truly stepped up to take bold action?’ Judging by the legacies left by Rachel Carson, Theo Colborn and their followers we believe great change can be achieved if people are willing to step and take bold action.
So, on this International Women’s day, why not #BeBoldForChange – get inspired, take action for prevention and make a change:
- Read the #ReduceYourRisk section of our website for practical advice and tips
- Find out about the chemicals inside your beauty products, download our #DitchTheJunk guide to buying safer cosmetics
- Planning a pregnancy? Read our guide to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals in the home
- Book a talk from one our Ambassadors
- Become an Ambassador
- Make your voice heard – join us by talking to your MP about protecting chemical regulations post Brexit
- Nominate us as charity of the year at work