If I like being a wife, can I still support the notion of strong women?

On 29th December 2017, my new husband and I enjoyed a magical wedding day. I loved every minute. I wasn’t one of those girls who had her wedding day planned down to every miniature of detail since the age of 16 but I have had the odd daydream over the years. I dreamt of walking down the aisle with my Dad, of wearing a dress made by my mother, of seeing all my friends in one place, of getting make-up and hair done and drinking champagne. I always wanted to get married and finally on one beautiful day 4 days after Christmas in 2017 I did. My dad gave me away and I became a wife.

I have founded a company called Inspiring Women which is a specialist agency providing female keynote, motivational and after-dinner speakers. I am Patron of a charity called Tag Rugby Trust through which we have launched our “Female Inspiration through Rugby” programme developing new female leaders and mentors. My life has been dominated and shaped by women’s sport and rugby and as a former England Captain this is something I am proud of. I believe in the opportunity of opportunity and choice regardless of gender, I think visible role models of strong women is essential, I encourage the development of female leaders. However, I am happy for my husband to take the bins out, I loved being walked down the aisle by my Dad and handed over to my new husband. Am I a fraud?

I adored my wedding dress that my Mum made, I did indeed love getting my hair and make-up done and yes, I savoured every minute of feeling like a princess for a day. And do you know what? I think this is perfectly acceptable. I want to feel feminine, I want to wear nice shoes, I want to don my mascara when I go to a meeting or a function because these things make me feel good. When I spoke to my husband about this recently (I love the H word!!) he pointed out that men like nice clothes and want to look and feel good too. This is ok!! We don’t need to feel guilty or think we are any less strong if we want to feel and look good.

Over the last 4 years I have learnt a lot about being a woman; I have come to accept that we are different to men and that is completely ok. We should celebrate our differences and utilise our natural strengths but there are also things we are not so good at. We are not so good at putting our hands up, we are not so good at pushing ourselves and applying for promotions, we struggle with our confidence and sometimes I believe we neglect ourselves and our own personal development. This is why it is ok to run workshops specifically for females. This is why it is more than ok to have founded a company and named it Inspiring Women.

Since I have finally retired from playing all rugby I now regularly head to the Secret Retreat spa near Ashford in Kent and get my nails done. Every time I walk in the door I get a flutter of excitement!! Nice nails did not fit entirely well with playing rugby so this fortnightly exercise still remains a novelty for me. Just over a year ago I got my ears pierced, sitting in a chair, in a well-known accessories chain, being told that it is ok – we quite often get old women like you getting their ears pierced. Thank you very much – some work on your chair side manner may be required!! Now every time I put a pair of earnings in I get that same flutter of excitement.

I feel strongly about being a woman, about celebrating and enjoying that fact. I feel passionately about celebrating strong women, I will ardently fight for the cause that women should have equal opportunities to make choices as they work their way through life. So, while we are fighting for equal rights, while we support International Women’s Day in March, if that is what we choose to do, it is important to remember that we are different. And more importantly we must remember that our difference is ok; and actually, they are more than ok, our differences are hugely beneficial when it comes to effective teamwork.

Thank you for reading!