When Dr Kirstin Ferguson had the idea to celebrate ordinary women through social media, she was not prepared for it to become a global phenomenon.
It was 2017, and Dr Ferguson – a company director, former CEO, military officer and mum – was on holidays and annoyed at the world.
“I was watching what was going on – Hillary Clinton had lost the election, women were knitting pink pussy hats, I was aware of things like the gender pay gap, but I’d never really considered myself an activist at all,” Dr Ferguson tells Deb Knight in this week’s Honey Mums podcast.
“I saw some abusive tweets aimed at a woman in the media and I knew that if I was standing next to that person when they said it, I would say something, I would do something, I would call the police.
“But when you’re online you can feel really powerless to not be able to do anything at all.”
Dr Ferguson decided to call her mother and a few hours later, the #CelebratingWomen movement was born.
“I shared a thread of tweets of her story, her answers to four questions. People were interested. She’s a regular woman, she’s a retiree and she’s done some amazing things and people were celebrating her.
“The very next morning I woke up and made a very public commitment – I would see if I could celebrate two women every single day of 2017 from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world.”
By the end of the year, Dr Ferguson had “celebrated” 757 women from 37 countries.
“[They were] mums at home, pet whisperers from California, retirees, teachers, high-profile women, government ministers and some women in the media but by far the majority were women just like us – our sisters, wives, people we work with.
“I’d always believed that every woman is a role model. It was the most extraordinary and rewarding year.”
She’s now written a book with journalist Catherine Fox, Women Kind, about the experience with the aim to continue her mission.
“It’s all about unlocking this power of women supporting women and looking at networks that women have, whether it’s women’s groups, or mother’s groups, or lunches with your girlfriends and the power that can bring,” Dr Ferguson says.