Spain celebrates inspiring expat females on International Women’s Day

Published:  9 Mar at 6 PM
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Nine expat women based in Spain over the past 80 years are being honoured by local Spanish media

March 8 is International Women’s Day, during which exceptional women and their achievements are celebrated across the world. This year’s celebration has an extra edge, in that it’s also a call for the implementation of gender parity in business and in life in general.

Spanish-based English language newspaper The Olive Press has published a celebration of its own, praising nine exceptional expat women who’ve made their mark in Spain over many years.The first women to be honoured is fashion designer Sophie Cranston, a former Graduate Designer of the Year award winner now based on the Costa del Luz. She started her fashion label employing local women two years after she’d graduated and moved to Spain.

Going back in time to the dark days of the Spanish Civil War, the newspaper is honouring Elizabeth Wilkinson, a female journalist who risked her life reporting on the Guernica bombing in 1937. She also started the British Women’s Committee Against War and Fascism. The Andalucia and Canary Islands British Consul, Charmaine Arbouin, oversees a busy consulate dealing with at least 500 enquires every month, and is much loved for her services to the expat community.

Mary Page runs Estepona’s ADANA Animal Rescue and its team of volunteers, caring for and sheltering abandoned animals. The shelter rescues and rehomes hundreds of dogs every year. Expats in Mojacar will be celebrating Jessica Simpson for her amazing rise to leader of the Mojacar Postitiva Se Mueve political party including a seat on the local council. She’s the voice of a large expat community making up 70 per cent of the local population.

Back in 1937, artist Felicia Brown became the only woman to fight as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, eventually dying for the cause before the war ended. Another famous woman, Betty Eleanor Allen, OBE, was the botanist who discovered a rare fern growing close by Algeciras, with her discovery leading to the protection of the area as a National Park. During her lifetime, she wrote numerous books on the botany of the region.

Liz Parry, another famous woman in the region, received the British Empire medal for her service to Brit expats in Andalucia. She’s now Vice President of the Costa Press Club. Finally, Rosalinda Powell Fox was born in India and became a spy for the Allies during WWII. Her Spanish husband’s government job gave him access to the names of traitors working for the Gestapo, the which he passed on to his wife. In later life, Rosalinda retired to Gibraltar and ordered the construction of houses with British bulldogs over the lintels.
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