Happy International Women's Day! HELLO! hosted a star-studded event with Kelly Hoppen at The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason which was sponsored by F&F Clothing. We exclusively talk to Katie Piper on motherhood, having more babies and juggling it all and we get the lowdown from Dancing on Ice star Rachel Stevens on raising two girls, plus more celebrity interviews.
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WATCH: Go behind-the-scenes at HELLO!'s glitzy IWD event
At luxury event, key speakers took to the stage to share important stories. Kelly Hoppen said: "We have a duty to our children and grandchildren to change the way the world is," Melissa Odabash opened up about being a female boss and Dame Lesley Regan made a stand with the Menopause Workplace Pledge.
HELLO! invited guest speakers to relay their experiences on IWD / Photo: James Robinson Photography
Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive of the Diana Award got a giggle from the crowd when she retold a story about her niece. When asking her what she wanted to be when she was older, she replied: "Fabulous." We can all agree, that's a perfect answer and one we should all aspire to...
Katie Piper spoke about having more children / Photo: James Robinson Photography
Loose Women star Katie Piper left us with some inspirational words of wisdom. "International Women's Day for me personally it's about individually we can make a difference, but together we can make change. I think today illustrates the allyship between women," she said.
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Making clear that celebrating women in this way isn't demeaning men, Katie said: "We're at an exciting time where diversity isn't just a recommendation, it's a must. It's a positive. Women don't want the demise of men; it's calling on men to back us and we're seeing that. We're seeing men champion women."
How is Katie celebrating the day in her household with two daughters? "We made a present today for my seven-year-old's teacher and a card and I said: 'Happy International Women's Day' to them both. I'm not sure they understand it yet but it's about growing up with it and making sure it's always present."
While it may look like Katie effortlessly juggles her busy life, she reveals the truth, admitting: "It's really hard." She explained: "I think as a woman you can choose a career or you can choose to be a mother but you have so many hats to wear. Your downtime may be domestic, or it may be admin. It's really hard! What I do is surrender to admitting that if I excel in one thing, another thing will suffer."
When asked about another baby, the star didn't rule it out! "I struggle to balance everything now but that's not to say I wouldn't want more children, but that's not to say we could cope."
Tessy Ojo spoke about what the late Princess Diana would have thought of the day
Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive of the Diana Award, joined in the celebration of women and thought about what the late Princess Diana would have made of International Women's Day. "One of the things I know of Princess Diana was she was always someone who looked out for the forgotten. She always loved to shine a spotlight on things that were hidden. She would have shined a spotlight on issues affecting women. I can see Princess Diana leading the cause."
Rachel Stevens is raising two daughters
Dancing on Ice star Rachel Stevens revealed what International Women's Day means to her. "I just think it's important to celebrate amazing, strong women. I was so looking forward to this morning because it's so empowering to be in a room full of incredible women."
Speaking of gender equality in 2022, Rachel said: "I think we've come a long way but there's a long way to go too. It's a big conversation isn't it."
Her household is all about raising strong women. "I have two daughters, so my husband is totally outnumbered. We had to get a boy dog just to bring a bit more testosterone into the house. I'm raising very strong girls who know their mind and know exactly what they want," reported Rachel.
How do you find being a mum in 2022? "It's programmed into us to multitask and think about absolutely everything. It's very different from how my husband thinks. Women pack a million things into our day. I didn't realise until I was a parent how much 'me time' is so important."
Talking of talking on lots, Rachel has found a new pastime thanks to her stint on DOI. "It was eventful, and it was an amazing experience. I'm carrying on ice skating as I really enjoyed it," she said.
Kelly Hoppen hosted HELLO!'s breakfast event / Photo: James Robinson Photography
Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen echoed what many people have said, applauding their mothers for inspiring them, but she also recognised her daughter. "I look up to my daughter as I see that new generation and that's empowering."
"Women together is a very powerful thing," she added. "I always go back to Sex and the City. Those four women were always there for each other no matter what. We need each other more than ever, we're a force to be reckoned with. Passing the batten to the younger generation too."
Rosie Nixon is raising her two boys as feminists
HELLO!'s Editor-in-Chief Rosie Nixon is raising her boys to be feminists. "They asked what it means today, and I explained it to them. Bringing up two boys as feminists who think of women as equal. They are my greatest cheerleaders," she said.
For Rosie, IWD is about "taking a moment to pause and reflect and say 'Wow, I know some amazing women in my life".
Her closing words were a takeaway for us all. "Kindness is something that's so important to me and the HELLO! brand. Always put kindness front of mind in all of your interactions," she said.
Louise Pentland is inspired by her late mother / Photo: James Robinson Photography
Vlogger Louise Pentland stopped to chat about busy mum life and paid tribute to her own late mother. "My mum who passed away when I was very little left such a legacy that lives on. It has been 30 years since she died but we still all talk about her and think about her and the amazing things she did." When quizzed on what she thought her mum would say about her achievements, she joked: "She'd say blooming hell I didn't see that coming."
She added: "Katie Piper is a friend of mine and she's a really inspiring woman. She gives the best advice. Behind closed doors she gives the best advice."
For Louise, she sees the progress as "slow but steady". "I can't believe we're still having these conversations in 2022, it shouldn't be a conversation anymore but I'm glad that it is and we are tackling it."
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Talking about her home life with two daughters, Louise reported: "We're a very female-heavy house, and women rule the roost a bit. We're okay but we like to think a bit about women who aren't."
What's home life like organising as a mum and a woman? "I'd like to say something empowering but all I can say is exhausting! I'm here now and all I can think is: 'What train will I have to get back to get Darcey to ballet? And tomorrow they have to take in something for allotment day!' I'd like a rest!"
With a huge social media following (2.9 million on Instagram!), social media is a big part of Louise's life, but she doesn't allow her kids to be on it.
"My children don't have their own social media. I think I would approach it realistically and not be a downer about it. I think there are so much more positives than negatives but also keep them aware of the negatives but not get frightened."
Kanya King paid tribute to her mother
Founder of the MOBO Awards Kanya King also credited her mother as one of the most influential figures in her life. "My mother was my greatest role model. She came from a very humble background; she came to this country at age of 18 to be a nurse. She ended up marrying a black man and had nine children. She was ostracised from her family and yet that didn't stop her from achieving her own dreams and she even started her own business at the age of 70!"
Kanya left us with an amazing proverb. "If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together."
June Sarpong recognises the progress that has been made in one generation
Presenter June Sarpong believes International Women's Day should be a celebration of how far we have come. "We often focus on where we are not, but we can't forget the progress that has been made," she exclaimed. "If you just look at your own life, I'm sure there are opportunities that are available to you that won't have been available to your mother, and I know the same for me. In one generation we've seen progress."
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Of course, there is still progress to be made though, and June warns we need to be cautious. "The thing that I'm always cautious of is that we take an intersectional approach, we're not just focused on one kind of women. We're making sure all women are reaching their full potential. It means even more now with everything going on in terms of women coming together and being a voice for those who perhaps aren't as fortunate as us."
Life Coach Michelle Elman highlighted the issue of the gender pay gap. "I think we put a few token women at the top but that hasn't spread down. Until we achieve equality in the way we pay people we're not going to achieve equality. Women are working more and still not being paid the same."
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