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Inspired By

We are celebrating inspirational women everywhere with a downloadable eBook appreciating some of the most inspirational women of this generation. We also surveyed 1000 members of the public to find out who they find inspirational in their lives & how we can say thank you with flowers.

Introduction

Inspirational women can be found in all areas of our lives. We can see them on our TV screens, on our stages, in our books and in our sports stadiums. We can find them in our families, our workplaces, our communities. They’re our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters, our colleagues, our friends. We learnfrom them, and grow from them, and it’s important for us to show our gratitude towards them.

This eBook looks at some of the most inspirational women of this generation and their relationship with flowers as symbols of love, happiness and thankfulness across the world.

We conducted a survey asking 1,000 people who they found inspirational and how they associate flowers with those women. Share the stories of the women who inspire you using the hashtag #InspiredBy.

Our survey has revealed that almost half of people say that their mum is the most inspirational woman in their life, because she supports them through good and bad times. It seems, for the vast majority of people, that a mum is always strong and supportive in every circumstance and has taught us everything we know about the world. She is the biggest influence in our life.

So how can we say thank you to our mum? Sending a bouquet is one of the most wonderful ways to show your sentiments and emotions, and is always much appreciated. The general public was asked about how they choose a bunch of flowers, and those surveyed said that colour was a top priority over scent and size. We’re all about the look of a bouquet, and whilst size is impressive, colour seems to be what makes it perfect and unique to your mum.

Our survey also revealed that the majority of people would send roses to their inspirational women. This doesn’t particularly come as a surprise, as a rose epitomizes love, both romantic and family. The second popular choice was a freesia, which typically represents friendship and trust.

We can often be inspired by women we don’t know or have never met. Below are some of the biggest and most influential women of this generation and how they have used flowers in their appearance and their ideas.

Thank you to...
JK Rowling for giving us hope in hard times

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has made a long and treacherous journey from bereaved daughter, domestic abuse survivor, single parent on benefits and depression-sufferer to multi-award winning novelist, screenwriter, film producer, activist and philanthropist.

JK Rowling wrote the story of Harry Potter in Edinburgh cafés whilst her baby daughter slept in her pram. She overcame the odds and managed to climb out of poverty through her hard work and dedication to her craft.

The Harry Potter books have been distributed in over 200 territories, have been translated into 68 languages, have sold over 400 million copies worldwide and have received many awards and honours. JK Rowling’s accolades include an OBE for her services to children’s literature and an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

President of the single parent support charity, Gingerbread, and founder of the Volant Charitable Trust, she has used her fame as a platform to speak out about causes close to her heart, such as poverty, illiteracy and multiple sclerosis. In 2012, the author was famously removed from the Forbes World’s Billionaires List, in part due to her charitable giving.

Our survey revealed that 41% of people would name their child after a flower, something that JK Rowling chose to do with many of her characters. But she was clever, and the flower meanings relate to the character’s personalities. Petunia Dursley is known for her resentment of Harry, and this is exactly what petunias symbolise. They can represent anger, hatred, and resentment.

Similarly, lilies symbolise the soul returning to innocence after death, and Lily Potter is shown as pure and innocent throughout the books. A host of Hogwarts attendees also have floralinspired monikers, including Pansy Parkinson, Lavender Brown, Poppy Pomfrey and Fleur Delacour.

Thank you to...
Beyoncé for reminding us that every woman can be powerful

Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying the influential power of Beyoncé. Born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, the singersongwriter rose to fame as part of all-female R&B group, Destiny’s Child, whose smash-hit songs include ‘Independent Women, Part 1’ and ‘Survivor’. In 2001, she embarked on a record-breaking, multi-platinum solo career, which saw her become one of the bestselling music artists of all time’. She was listed as the highest-paid black musician in history in 2014 and named the most powerful female in entertainment by Forbes in 2015.

Her 2013 song ‘***Flawless’ featured samples from ‘We Should All Be Feminists’, a speech by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from at a TEDxEuston conference, and has helped to bring Adichie’s examination of subtle everyday sexism to a wider audience.

As well as identifying as a feminist, Beyoncé is a vocal supporter of the social justice movement Black Lives Matter and has spoken out against US police shootings of black men and women.

Her 2016 visual album Lemonade has been called ‘a revolutionary work of black feminism’ and ‘a powerful ode to black women’.

Beyoncé launched a global charity initiative BeyGOOD in 2013 and was named most charitable celebrity by DoSomething.org in 2016.

In our survey, 37% of respondents agreed that daisies could be associated with pregnancy and new life. 17% also agreed that roses symbolise pregnancy. Beyoncé gave her daughter the middle name Ivy, which is said to represent eternal life. Then, in 2017, Beyoncé drew on the symbolism of flowers in her twin pregnancy announcement photoshoot. With her pregnant belly exposed, the singer is framed by a halo of blooms, thought to represent the mystery of life and death, blossoming motherhood, fertility and new life. The flowers she used most in this shoot were roses, amongst daisies and ferns. In our survey, 37% of respondents agreed that daisies could be associated with pregnancy and new life. 17% also

Thank you to...
Malala Yousafzai for teaching us that anyone can speak out against injustice

On 9th October 2012, a girl in Pakistan was shot in the back of a school bus. That girl was Malala Yousafzai and the first bullet, fired by the Taliban, hit her in the head. The then 15-year-old had fought against the Taliban for the right of girls to go to school and had been silenced by a gunshot.

She didn’t stay silent for long however. Malala woke up a week after the shooting in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she was receiving specialist treatment. After leaving the hospital in January 2013, Malala continued to advocate for the right of girls to receive a safe, quality education. That year she co-founded the non-profit Malala Fund with her father to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices. She also spoke at the UN on her 16th birthday to call for worldwide access to education and coauthored the internationally-bestselling book, I am Malala.

In 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi. She donated all of her $500,000 plus prize money to the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.

Now aged 19, Malala plans to undertake a degree in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) while continuing to work for the Malala Fund.

Malala was presented with flowers by the prime minister of Pakistan following a press conference at the Library of Birmingham. They were a bright pink and orange arrangement. Orange flowers represent happiness and joy, whilst pink flowers are associated with femininity and innocence.

People have always connected the outdoors with peace. Our survey revealed that 46% of people associate the lily with peace, and almost a quarter said the orchid. In her book, Malala stated that: “We are peace-loving. Our mountains, our trees, our flowers — everything in our valley is about peace.”.

Thank you to...
Kate Middleton for using your public platform to promote good causes

In 2012, Kate Middleton became an official member of the royal family after marrying Prince William.

Since being catapulted into the limelight as a royal, Kate has become heavily involved with a number of charitable projects. In 2011, she established The Royal Foundation with her husband and brother-in-law.

As well as her work with the Royal Foundation, Kate holds charitable patronages with a number of organisations, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice, Place2Be, SportsAid and the 1861 Trust. Along with William and Harry, Kate is an ambassador for the charity Heads Together, which works to raise awareness of mental health issues. Earlier this year, she opened up about her own mental health, especially in relation to her experiences as a parent.

Though there doesn’t seem to be any official ‘rule’, many of the royal brides in the last 100 years have opted for a white and green bouquet. 67% of those we polled said they would never embellish an outfit in real flowers, but our wedding day seems to be an exception. With buttonholes and bouquets in abundance, it’s the style to wear flowers on a wedding day.

Kate’s flowers included lily of the valley, sweet William, hyacinth, myrtle, and ivy. Myrtle signifies love and marriage, and has been put in bride’s bouquets since Queen Victoria’s wedding. Combined, the others signify trust, gallantry, and fidelity, all traits you would hope for in a new wife or husband

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