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(Founders Grandmother Rana top left)
International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day both take place this week.
Each celebration, and indeed this wonderful week dedicated to women, serve as a reminder and opportunity to honour the most important women in our lives.
We’re holding onto and raising up friends, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, co-workers, the women who serve us, the women we serve, the women we look up to, the women we know and don’t know, and many, many others. All and every one of them deserve to be praised, venerated, revered and cheered, and even have festivities held in their name.
If we wrote about all the amazing women in our lives, we’d have enough material for a book. But instead, we’re sharing a few anecdotes about the women we love the most or have had the biggest impact on our lives or those of others.
My grandmother – M Life’s founder and CEO
My grandmother Rana (top left in the tree), and my mother, were incredible women who were always fighting for what is right. Rana, my grandmother, inspired me so much in life, she’s even the motivation behind M Life. While bringing up five (!) children, she protested against the removal of a very sacred, ancient tree from the small rural town she lived in – and succeeded. That gusto, drive and pursuit of equality shaped me as a person and made me constantly think ‘what good can I do in the world?’ My mother also inherited my grandmother’s courageous personality and desire the right wrongs, and brought my five brothers and me up with a firm sense of this. Mum not only the incredible mother to me and my brothers, but supported and cherished my father, who upheld justice in the courtroom (he was a lawyer and a judge). I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful family nor stronger female influences.
My English teacher – M Life’s Journal contributing editor, the Journal
Many moons ago when I was doing my A Levels, I was taught by the most incredible woman. I think she was the Head or Deputy Head of English – we’ll call her Mrs G. She was a tough cookie and pushed us to do our absolute best, but in the most encouraging, life affirming way. What’s more, she never singled out or treated one member of the class more favourably than another. We were a mixed bunch in terms of grades, but she made everyone feel like they could achieve something. Mrs G gave equal time and attention to every person. In the end, she brought out everyone’s academic side, but also made us feel more confident, develop self-worth, and made a shared respect and love for other women non-negotiable. Mrs G was a shining example of the power of supporting one another.
My great aunt – M Life’s social media manager
My grandma’s sister was kind of like my second grandma. She inspired me to live a different kind of life and live it for myself – not for anyone else. She was not a traditional kind of woman, at least not for her time – she was born in 1920s, didn’t have kids, was divorced (I know, gasp…) and lived by her own rules, which really irritated the rest of her family. My great aunt lived by herself in a little countryside house and enjoyed being in nature so much. At the same time, she was the soul of any party and the lifeblood of any group – always the first on the dancefloor, even in her 80s. I loved watching her getting ready to go out – all of a sudden, this tiny lady would pop some make up on, curl her hair, glam up in her 70s style skirt... She was always in the middle of action, organising events, concerts and even led a local choir well into her 80s. My great aunt always stuck to her principles on the smallest of things (for example, she never watched TV because it was a ‘waste of time’) and was the most amazing source of positivity.
My favourite tennis player – M Life’s Head of Sales
I have two young girls and I’m conscious of finding good role models for them, role models who do great things, but are also impactful people. Creating communities, building hope, unifying people and championing kindness are qualities that can sometimes be in short supply in the celebrities young girls typically look up to or see on TV etc. In recent months, finding reasons to be positive and keep my kids motivated has been hard, but when I found out Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open Tennis Championship in early 2021, I felt so uplifted, so happy and so pleased that this wonderful woman had got the title. She deserved it not just because of what she did, but who she is. I am much more aware of the incredible generation of women leading the way by encouraging girls into sports like tennis and telling them they can do anything, while being inclusive, striving for equality and giving back at the same time. I want my girls to grow up in a world that’s progressive and encourages representation in all areas, on all fronts, and in all ways.