For International Women’s Day: 10 people making gender parity a reality

To celebrate International Women's Day and this year's theme of #PledgeforParity, the FutureLearn team nominate the people who are making gender parity happen.

This year’s International Women’s Day is encouraging everyone to #PledgeForParity: to challenge conscious and unconscious gender bias; to value everyone’s contributions equally; and to create inclusive, flexible cultures. To mark the occasion, we asked the FutureLearn team to nominate people who are making this happen. Here’s who they chose.

Raised hands, representing this year's International Women's Day theme of #PledgeforParity

Cate Huston

Cate Huston is a mobile engineer and digital nomad extraordinaire. Together wih Chiu-Ki Chan, she founded Technically Speaking – a newsletter with resources on getting started with public speaking, writing and developing talks, and info about conferences with open calls for proposals (CFPs). They will only publicise conferences that have a good Code of Conduct and a demonstrable approach to diversity. Her blog posts about technical interviewing are a must-read resource for anyone looking to become a better technical interviewer, including attention to conscious and unconscious bias.

– Cristina, Ruby Developer


Bella Tromba

Bella Tromba are a quartet of trumpet players who are active in many areas of performance. I’d like to give them a shout-out for their educational work in inspiring young girls to take up a brass instrument. Girls are often steered away from learning to play the trumpet, whether through conscious or unconscious bias, and instead they’ll learn the flute or violin. Vickie, Jo, Becca and Emma are great role models who are showing young people that they can achieve their ambitions.

– Kate, Senior Partnership Manager


Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is not the first person to note that women do the bulk of unpaid labour around the world (even when they’re fully employed), but as co-founder of the Gates Foundation, she’s in a rare position to change things. In this year’s annual letter for the foundation, she makes women’s time poverty a priority for the year. She writes: “It’s not just about fairness; assigning most unpaid work to women harms everyone: men, women, boys, and girls… What amazing goals would you accomplish with an extra hour every day? Or, in the case of girls in many poor countries, an extra five or more?”

– Katherine, Partnership Manager


Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville is an American graphic designer and educator whose life’s work has been dedicated to communicating voices in society that often go unheard. She founded the first design programme for women at the California Institute of Arts and co-founded the Woman’s Building – a non-profit public arts centre in Los Angeles dedicated to women’s education and culture. She is well-known for her collaborative project “Pink”, which challenges the notions of gender associated with the colour. De Bretteville is a principled and politically engaged graphic designer in an industry that is often only concerned with style and trends.

– Kieran, Digital Product Designer



Stemettes are awesome: “we’re showing the next generation that girls do science, technology, engineering and maths too.” They organise workshops, hack days, mentoring and even ran a summer-long incubator for girls. I ran a session for them about agile working. The best thing about them is the diversity of young people they are reaching; feminism is, amongst other things, also about tackling socio-economic disadvantage and racism.

– Laura, Product Manager


Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox was the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine, and her write-up as one of the most influential people of 2015 does a good job of explaining why she’s so inspiring. The effort she spends on activism and raising awareness, and her bravery, makes her a shining beacon not just to trans women and girls, but all trans people, including nonbinary folks like myself.

– Mal, Ruby Developer


Coraline Ada Ehmke

Coraline Ada Ehmke is the author of the Contributor Covenant – a popular Code of Conduct that is being adopted by many prominent open source projects and aims to promote a safe workspace for contributors, which is tolerant and inclusive. Coraline has also founded – a resource that connects all women with open source projects that are inclusive and welcoming of diversity in their communities. Her campaigning and contributions to making open source culture a more welcoming place for everyone, regardless of gender identity or ethnicity is inspirational.

– Matthew, Ruby Developer


A Mighty Girl

A Mighty Girl is a growing website of inspirational stories and games where girls are not portrayed as princesses to be rescued, but as “the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure.” Since becoming a father, my eyes have been opened to the endemic gender stereotyping that children face in the media they consume. I’m determined not to limit the scope of my daughters’ ambitions and imaginations by presenting them only with products that reinforce gender inequality and patriarchal tropes. So I’d like to congratulate founders Caroyln Danckaert and Aaron Smith – I’ve found their site to be an incredible resource and it has made me a better father.

– Richard, Senior Partnership Manager


Ashe Dryden

Ashe Dryden, through her speaking, organising, consulting and public advocacy, has worked for a number of years to push back against the tech industry’s biases against marginalised groups, including women. She is the founder of AlterConf, a conference series supporting marginalised groups in technology and gaming, and the co-founder of Fund Club, a funding circle focusing on projects and initiatives that are otherwise ignored by mainstream funding sources. Her advocacy for Codes of Conduct at tech conferences and within open source communities has contributed to a huge increase in the number of projects and conferences adopting such codes, helping to make tech a more welcoming place for women to work.

– Simon, Ruby Developer


Harriet Minter

Harriet Minter, the editor (and founder) of Guardian Women in Leadership, not only provides a space for people to call for and discuss gender-balanced leadership, but also acts as an inspiring role model for other women. She was someone who personally supported me when I started working at the Guardian, and gave inspiring (and humorous) talks, such as “Proceed until apprehended” and “What yoga taught me about business, bravery and bras” to much wider audiences. The approach she takes to tackling issues around gender parity is inclusive, ambitious and light-hearted all at the same time.

– Tess, Product Manager


Is there someone you admire for making gender parity happen? Tell us about them in the comments below. Or find out more about International Women’s Day and make your own pledge for gender parity.

Category Making FutureLearn

Comments (39)


  • Kefaya alhamedy

    Every woman has right to nominate that she is great .becouse woman can work,takecure her children and learn at the same time .is better than man so l proud lm wommmmman?



  • Karla Fuentes

    I nominate Malala for being the woman and the youngest person to win a Nobel prize…

  • Fatenah

    Every woman working in the marginal sector supporting families. Though they contribute greatly to the marginal economy of their countries they face great adversity and hardships.

  • phool

    I would like to nominate every woman at home struggle the real life to develop new life being a mother in male dominated society

  • Irina Artiukh

    I would like to nominate Nadia Savchenko, a real heroine of Ukraine!Hope, everyone in the world knows about Nadia due to her great love to her Motherland-Ukraine.Being a prisoner in Russia, she still defences the sovereignty of my native country.

    • Oksana

      100% AGREE!

  • Adiba

    I would like to nominate Laverne Cox,I have been moved by her bravery. Women should have the same position with men in family and society. Because women are capable do every certain thing that men do.

  • Chris Miller

    I’d like to nominate Dame Carolyn McCall who is both a very successful British Businesswoman and, for the last several years, the outstanding CEO of ‘EasyJet’

  • Myo Thu Ya

    my nominate are my mum and our hero Daw Aung San Su Kyi from Myanmar …they are great .


    I’d like to nominate Simone de Beauvoir. She was a French writer, philosopher, political activist and feminist. She’s known for her 1949 book “The Second Sex” a detailed analysis of women’ s oppression. She had a significant influence on feminist theory.


    I nominate Malala Yousofzai for her courage to stand up for girls education all over the world for making up the gender equality and eradication of poverty.

  • Alifya Ariyandini

    I nominate R.A.Kartini the woman’s hero in Indonesia.

  • Jenny Watts

    There are many living women today who deserve nomination (& I’m glad my MP Caroline Lucas has been nominated) but I’m afraid I’d have to nominate two women no longer with us – Berta Caceres from Honduras, murdered five days ago for leading an environmental & political movement & Wangari Muta Maathai, who died in 2011, She founded the Green Belt Movement & also led demands for political & environmental change. Please find out about these brave women if you don’t already know.

  • favelina

    I nominate Angelina jolie for her courage to break the tabbut existent in our society about cancer

  • ken Gbeve

    I nominate the current Ghana minister for gender and social protection, Mrs. Nana Oye-Lithur

  • Lena Rambaldi

    I would like to name Gino Strada,the founder and the president of EMERGENCY..
    Great man great spirit!

  • Monica

    Malala Yousafzai for her incredible courage to teach girls and women around the world that having the freedom of voice is something we all are can be educated and learned so that we may not feel fear.

  • majed muteq

    I nominated Cate Huston

  • Cristina Noemi

    I wish that all women in the worldwide, but especifically in Latin American, working tirelessly for equality and liberty (I write correctly????)

  • Rosemary Keery

    Another candidate: Valerie le Vaillant will become the next Chief Guide in May .She has been an architect , town planner, surveyor etc and lives in Kent with her husband Bob and their
    three daughters who are all in the Girl Guide Senior Section.
    As a Guide she achieved her Queen’s Guide award, and then she became a Guide leader and a Commissioner. She has represented Guiding locally, nationally and overseas.

  • Lesley Greene

    I nominate Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, author of “Our Honourable Friends” , has been Leader of the Green Party and an MEP. She is passionate, committed, unafraid of standing up for the environment and social equality, is always articulate. An inspiration to all women aspiring to change the world through UK politics where gender bias still exists.

  • Nour

    I think we will arrive to point that we need to defence the men’s rights ??

  • Mohamud Salah

    Sub-field coordinator

  • Mohamud Salah

    It is a great opportunity to provide a slight comments here towards 8th March 2016. it will draw to my attention and share this valuable day with other colleagues in the same region. i wish we all are on the same track for celebrating this historical day in the worldwide.

  • Campbell

    Charmeine Wait who is dedicated to community through education and example.

  • Michael Hall

    In the interests of gender parity I name the person who proclaims tomorrow international Mens Day

  • Dawn Wilson

    The staff at the Fawcett Society working tirelessly for equality

  • Kaye O'Neill

    Malala Yousafzai for her amazing struggle to allow girls to be educated.

  • kathleen sinnott

    i nominate a current irish politician and feminist Claire Daly

  • Gail Deal

    Alison Smith for being a leading light in the ice skating world.

  • Ian Goudie

    I nominate Frances O’Grady, the first female General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress.



  • Saeed Farhadi

    I nominate all the strong-willed, pioneering and relentless women of my country, Iran, who are forced to wear obligatory veil under the barbaric laws of ostensibly Islamic republic regime and are still fighting for their essential rights and parity. I fully sympathize with them and truly understand the agony and misery they all are enduring. I wish a world free from any sexist, religious, and racist bias, whether conscious or unconscious.


    STEMETTES: my nominee for her outstanding performance by encouraging females take part in courses in schools such as engineering,maths and technology.Also organizing hack days and conferences as well.This will motivate women and young girls for that matter to erased the perception of racism and gender discrimination.

  • Maggie Stableford

    I nominate Sandi Toksvig for starting the Women’s Equality Party.

  • Audrey Wiicox

    How about Sandi Toksvig and the Women’s Equality Party?

  • Nel Breet

    I would like to name: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama!

    • Yvonne Ward

      Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton for campaigning for education of girls throughout the world.