I can think of three women particularly, who have been hugely inspirational and influential in many ways in my life – that is my wife, my mum and Margaret Thatcher.
I lost a lot of faith in women generally some years ago, around the time when my first marriage broke up. But all of that changed completely when I met my new wife in 2003. She is the most ardent, generous, caring and sensitive person I have ever met.
I have a lot to thank my mum for – not least for giving me life, but of course, my dad played a part in this too. As a child and in many ways as an adult I suppose, my mum has been the person I have touched base with all my life – during times of euphoria and times of unhappiness.
Margaret Thatcher was our first woman prime minister. She won three elections in a row, serving this country for a longer period than any prime minister for more than 150 years. She defined and she overcame the many great challenges of her age. Her principles and her courage still influence my thinking to this day.
But equally, I can think of three men who have also been instrumental in my life too. I rather like Rochelle Brockington’s contribution to the celebration of equality.
“Equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. A gender-equal world can be healthier, wealthier and more harmonious - so what's not great about that?”
I am thrilled that this year’s International Women’s Day Campaign centres on building a gender-equal world. But for today, here's to every loving, strong and independently minded woman I know - past, present and future.