Inspirational Women

Every Lewes FC Women's match poster features a famous (and sometimes less famous) woman who inspires us. Last season we chose women who were from the area where our opponents come from. This season, we've gone global...

The illustrations for this season's posters are by up & coming young designer Dan Hardman. Dan has been creating illustrations and graphics since 2015 and we loved his work as soon as we saw it. See for yourself at and follow Dan on Twitter @hardmandesign and Instagram danhardman00

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Lewes v London City Lionesses: Susie Orbach

This match is being dedicated to Heads Together and the FA's Heads Up campaign which is encouraging people to 'talk about mental health as much they talk about football'. So we are featuring celebrated British psychotherapist and psychoanalyst Susie Orbach who has spent much of her career focussing on issues around body image and media portrayal as they relate to women in particular. Orbach was born in 1946 in north London and despite being expelled from school at 15yrs old, she went on to complete her PhD in psychoanalysis at the City University of New York. In 1976 (along with Luise Eichenbaum) Orbach founded the Women's Therapy Centre in 1976 and also, in 1981, the Women's Therapy Centre Institute, a training institute in New York. Her first book Fat Is A Feminist Issue (1978) has become a seminal work.

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Lewes v Billericay Town: Pat Davies

Pat Davies has a big place in the history of women's football in England. The first Women’s FA Cup final was held in May 1971 between Southampton and Scottish side Stewarton Thistle. Southampton won 4-1 with a hat-trick from Davies (and a goal from Dot Cassell). Because the 50-year FA ban on the use of all facilities affiliated to the them was not lifted until July of that year, the match had to be played at the Crystal Palace national sports centre in London. Southampton went on to win eight of the first 11 finals. Davies also played for England - she and indeed all her fellow players and managers were vital pioneers in the re-birth of women's football.

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Lewes v London Bees: Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist whose arguably greatest work The Second Sex helped to define modern feminism. Born in Paris on 9 January, 1908, to a middle class family, it was their difficult financial circumstances that encouraged de Beauvoir to create a career for herself, against the norms of the time. She studied and became a teacher, but only until her own writings provided enough income. At 21 she met and formed a lifelong, though open, relationship with John-Paul Sartre though she also had lengthy affairs with others too, both men and women. She died in 1986 and left behind an incredible body of work.

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Lewes v Sheffield United: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has been Executive Director of UN Women since 2013. Born in Transkei in South Africa in 1953, she witnessed the appalling degradations of the apartheid regime and after its fall in the nineties, she rose to become South Africa's first ever Deputy President. In office (2005 - 2008) she created new programmes to alleviate poverty and spread the benefits of the growing economy more broadly. Her work with the United Nations began in the eighties and took her all over the world as she focussed her considerable energies on young people and women's rights. It is under Phumzile's tenure that UN Women created its HeForShe campaign, highlighting the importance of male allies in the fight for gender equality.

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Lewes v Chelsea: Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori pioneered a new child-centred approach to early childhood education, which is still used in some 25,000 schools all over the world that bear her name. Born in Italy in 1870, Montessori trained originally as a doctor, specialising in paediatrics and psychiatry. At her free clinics she treated many children from disadvantaged households and she observed that socio-economic background itself had no bearing on a child's innate intelligence and ability to learn, but that standard teaching techniques in schools did not serve them well. Her extensive research, study of various educational models and years of practical experiments led to her developing an approach where the teacher "followed the child" and let their natural interests take the lead. She also used her platform to advocate for women's and children's rights.

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Lewes v Leicester City: Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif first came to fame when she was arrested in Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2011 while driving and video of it was viewed over 700,000 times on YouTube. At that point, Saudi women had been fighting for the right to drive for the some 25 years. Manal then launched a ‘Women Drivers’ day the following month and co-founded the Women2Drive movement. The campaign grew and grew. On 26 September 2017, King Salman issued an order to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia and the ban was officially lifted on 24 June 2018. Al-Sharif has gone on to campaign more broadly for women's rights across a number of issues.

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Lewes v Crystal Palace (League Cup): Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a celebrated Mexican painter whose vibrant works were inspired by the culture and nature of Mexico. The bold, folk art style she developed also carried a strong strand of the political, commenting on personal identity and feminism in the context of postcolonial Mexico. But her work, on another level, is also quite simply incredibly colourful, honest and inspirational. Her personal life was complicated and, despite spending time in the USA, she ultimately returned to her homeland. A serious bus accident at the age of 18 had left her badly injured and she suffered lifelong consequences - this ultimately, along with a chaotic lifestyle, led to her death at the age of just 47.

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Lewes v Crystal Palace: Billie Jean King

As a tennis player Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam titles in total - 12 singles, 16 doubles and 11 mixed doubles. And Billie Jean used her platform to bring about change. In June 1973, she founded the breakaway Women's Tennis Association in response to the lack of prize money and influence that female tennis players had at the time. Such was the success of the Women's Tour (and following her high-profile win in the 'Battle of the Sexes' match that year) that, in the same year, the US Open became the first tournament in the world to offer equal prize money for the women's and men's Singles, Wimbledon becoming the last major Open to follow suit in 2007. She has continued to be a major voice globally on gender equality in sport and beyond.

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Lewes v Blackburn Rovers: Greta Thunberg

16 year old Swedish activist Great Thunberg first came to our attention in August 2018 when she started protesting outside the Swedish parliament about the urgency for action to prevent irreversible climate change. The school 'strikes' she initiated became a worldwide movement and since then Greta has given some incredibly powerful talks to worlds leaders and the United Nations. She shows the power of having utter conviction and taking decisive action, in the face of sometimes stinging opposition, to bring about positive change in our world.

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2018-19 Season #InspirationalWomen

Lewes v Sheffield United: Helen Sharman

Helen Sharman, the UK's first-ever astronaut, was born in Grenoside, Sheffield in 1963 and completed her BSc in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield in 1984. Her route to the stars was a bit unusual in that, five years after graduating, she responded to an advert and was selected for the Project Juno mission live on ITV. She was just 27 when the soviet-funded eight-day Soyuz TM-12 launched on 18 May 1991.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Amy Taylor)

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Lewes v Durham: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Born Elizabeth Moulton-Barrett on 6 March 1806 in Kelloe, just South-East of Durham itself, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote some of this country's most beloved poetry. Despite living her life with crippling illness, from the age of just 15, she produced the most stunning romantic poetry, probably most notably her Sonnet 42 How Do I Love Thee? She was also a social campaigner, arguing for the abolition of slavery and working to reform child labour laws. Unfortunately, her marriage to Robert Browning, in 1846, was not approved by her father and the Barrett Brownings moved to Italy that same year. She almost certainly should have been the UK's first-ever female Poet Laureate, after the death of Wordsworth in 1850, but that gig went instead to Tennyson. She died in Florence in 1861.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Shannon Moloney)

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Lewes v Millwall Lionesses: Olive Morris

Born in Jamaica in 1952, Olive Morris moved to South London when she was nine. She left school without qualifications, but went on to study at the London College of Printing. Though no single event can explain someone's path into becoming a fighter for social justice, following a notorious incident in 1969 where she witnessed the beating of a Nigerian diplomat by police in Brixton and was herself beaten, Olive's own activism certainly did surface.  A squat that she started at 121 Railton Road, Brixton with her friend Liz Obi in 1973 became a hub of political activism. And in 1974, she helped to found the Brixton Black Women's Group. Beyond her South London base, she also travelled extensively around the world to learn how others were organising new ways for society to organise itself. It was during a trip to Spain in 1978 that she fell ill and on returning to the UK, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She died a year later, just 27 years old.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Charley Boswell)

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Lewes v London Bees: Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was born in Southgate, on 14th September 1983, a short ride away from Barnet where London Bees play. Many of her maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians and her paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer. So no surprise perhaps that she grew up singing and loving jazz music. She attended Theatre and Stage schools and then the BRIT school. Her debut album, Frank, was released on 20 October 2003. Three years later Back To Black was released and she went stratospheric. Her music and lyrics were incredibly raw, heartfelt and inspirational. She was an absolutely remarkable woman whose talent will be respected and loved for decades to come.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Vicky Carleton)

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Lewes v Charlton Athletic: Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave was born in Greenwich, South London, on 30th January 1937. As an actor, she has been equally magnificent on stage and screen, winning both an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress in 'Julia') and an Olivier Award (Best Actress in 'The Aspern Papers') and numerous other awards too. As a political activist, she has sometimes courted controversy but has consistently spoken against wars, becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1995. Our image is from the huge anti Vietnam War march in London, 1968. The picture of Vanessa Redgrave was taken by celebrated photographer John Walmsley.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Katie McIntyre)

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Lewes v Manchester United: Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst was born on 15 July 1858 in the Manchester suburb of Moss Side. Though her parents were political activists and supportive of women's suffrage they didn't offer Emmeline the same educational path as her brothers. It was at the age of just 14, after attending a talk with her mother by Lydia Becker, the Editor of the Women's Suffrage Journal, that Emmeline resolved to fight for women's suffrage herself. Fed up with the lack of progress being achieved by peaceful dialogue on 10 October 1903 Pankhurst and colleagues founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) which focused on direct action to win the vote. "Deeds," she wrote "not words, was to be our permanent motto."

(Featured Lewes FC player: Rebecca Thompson-Agbro)

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Lewes v Aston Villa: Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading was born in Basseterre on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts, but at the age of seven, she joined her parents in central Birmingham. At about the age of 14, Armatrading began writing songs (on a £3 guitar given to her by her mother) but had to combine her fledgling songwriting career with work, to help support her family. In 1972, she released her debut album (Whatever's For us) and the 2018 release 'Not Too Far Away' is her 24th studio album. Her music has been the emotional backdrop for generations of us and an inspiration for female musicians. As Joan herself said: ""My songs aren't about me at all. They're always about love, the pain and anguish of it." Yes indeed. What a legend.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Sarah Kempson)

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Lewes v Tottenham Hotspur: Adele

Adele Adkins was born and brought up in Tottenham until the age of nine when she and her mother moved to Brighton for a couple of years. Following a move back to South London, Adele was later to attend the BRIT School in Croydon, graduating in 2006. Having started singing at the age of four, the glittering career that followed was perhaps written in the stars though delivered by incredible determination and hard work. Adele has won awards too numerous to mention and sold over 100 million records but we have chosen her as one of our #InspirationalWomen because her voice and her spirit have moved and given comfort to millions around the world.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Leeta Rutherford)

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Lewes v Leicester City: Biddy Baxter

Joan Maureen "Biddy" Baxter was born and brought up in Leicester. Though she didn't originally create Blue Peter, it was Baxter and her deputy Edward Barnes who developed the format into a successful programme, initially on a budget of only £180 per edition. It was Baxter who created, in 1963, the legendary Blue Peter badge as a way to encourage viewers to write in and she also started the annual Blue Peter appeals. In a man's world of TV production, she was a pioneer in children's television worldwide.

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Lewes v Crystal Palace: Jacqueline du Pré

Jacqueline spent her early school years in Purley and, at the age of eight, transferred to Croydon High School. She is considered one of the greatest cellists of all time. In the 1960s, her popularity crossed over into the mainstream of music - she was one of the first classical musicians to bring her music to a wider audience.

Tragically, her career was cut short by multiple sclerosis and she gave her last ever performance in 1973, already significantly affected by the illness. She battled the illness for many years until her death in 1987 at the age of 42.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Faye Baker)

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Lewes v Arsenal: Kathy Burke

Kathy was born in the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead and brought up in Islington.

From her debut in the controversial 1983 film Scrubbers to the Cannes/BAFTA 'Best Actress' award-winning Nil By Mouth in 1997 and beyond, she has proved herself to be a superb dramatic actor as well as being a comedy genius (French & Saunders Show, Gimme Gimme Gimme, AbFab). Since 2001 Kathy has focussed on Directing. We love her passion and uninhibited approach to acting and directing.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Avilla Bergin)

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Lewes v Charlton Athletic: Kate Bush

Born in Bexleyheath, Kate Bush also lived for a time in Eltham. Thanks to some early help from Dave Gilmour, she produced a three-track demo that got her signed by EMI in 1975. Her first album 'The Kick Inside' was launched with what is still one of her most iconic songs Wuthering Heights. And her career was set. For her sheer energy, creative imagination and refusal to compromise in a male-dominated music industry (particularly in the 70s/80s), we chose Kate Bush as our Inspirational Woman for this poster.

(Featured Lewes FC player: Rebecca 'Chewy' Carter)

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