Ladies First – Inspiring Women In The Mountains & Life

One of my favourite Finnish sayings is “women first, even to the thin ice“… (Naiset ensin vaikka heikoille jäille.)

Yes, Finnish humour is kind of rough. But I think there is a good point in there, besides the bad. Simply, it’s about giving the lead to the ones who deserve it while recognising the responsibility which comes with having the freedom and privilege. Nothing worth having comes easy – regardless of sex – and the best understand that, stay humble and lead with good example.

And to honor the International Women’s Day this week – and for personally having a pretty rough time lately, with the need for extra motivation, encouragement and inspiration – I would like to introduce you to the women who have been of the biggest inspiration for me lately. From many fields of life.

First of all, I have had this rupi kaur poem in my mind constantly since I read her two books last year. For me, it is the perfect follower for the “What would Beyoncé/Michelle/ Simone/my late grandma do?” mantra I have in my head whenever life gets though and there is a challenge to be won. (Fyi, this happens a lot.)

So, let’s start with progress. And artist who’s made quite remarkable career in such a young age and with not the best privileges.

And then, let’s continue to the mountains.

Lucy Walker Matterhorn 1871

In 1871, the Englishwoman Lucy Walker climbed Matterhorn as the first woman ever – in a Victorian skirt (!). Which makes me very grateful for the modern ages and the outdoor clothing which has evolved since. Especially for women.

Like, how happy I am that as a (western) woman I can now get gear for my outdoor adventures in other colors than red and pink. And that the same high tech materials and best designs can be found in women’s sizes too. And that I can leave the dress and heels to the office and parties, and wear pants and crampons in the mountains.

(Unfortunately, many parts of the world still have some work to do for brave pioneer women and the society as a whole).

Fast forward from Lucy to the modern mountain babes, there’s Hilaree Nelson climbing and skiing (the first descent) Lhotse in 2018. Ladies really first there. (I also recommend you to listen this podcast to learn more of the inspiring motivating thoughts and projects of her.) And here’s Liv Sansoz too, climbing mountains and doing this in 2017. (While I’m so not climbing all the 4000m peaks in the European Alps, I do have a dream of climbing few of them before I turn 40 – with Liv as one of the biggest inspirations for that.)

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

Cheers also to the modern rad women crushing endurance records and dreaming crazier (and the businesses and masses supporting them). And cheers to the woman/women led innovative responsible businesses like Houdini (the part-time environmentalist knitting new luxury me is so excited by this merino tech especially) and the grassroots organisations, female entrepreneurs and individuals like Liz Clark, who work hard and inspire for better future, in their own motivating way.

And cheers to Shades of Winter and legacy of Matilda, and Evolution of Dreams and every woman and especially guide leading the way in mountains and outside mountains, in business and home.

And cheers for Michelle Obama. For Becoming, which became the best book I read last year and the book I recommend to anyone who’s interested in rad women in politics and public life.

And cheers to all the woman activist and artists (and damn I want a good suit now).

And cheers to every creator, especially the moms like my own (she, 57, just skied cross-country 45km the other day… ) and her mom. Cheers to the super women, who do their work well and manage to raise good enough kids, and the super women who do whatever extremely well, and lead the way responsibly and looking good.

 And finally, cheers to every rad woman I have personally worked with, laughed with, skied with, studied with, cried with and done whatever with – many of whom I can call friends or at least good acquaintances.

You rock, and have shown how so many awesome things are possible with hard work and the right attitude, courage and humility.

Stay wild and a bit crazy. And remember the sun screen.

La Grave Tiina Kivelä