Inspirational Women for International Women’s Day

With the beginning of National Women’s History Month in the United States and in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, current Global UGRAD students shared about women they believe have helped shape who they are today.

Student standing between his mother and grandmother with his arms around each of them in formal attire


Adrian Reister Fernandez, Philippines, University of Maine

Meet the women who molded me to become who I am today! My Wonder WoMom and Wonder GrandMom! I am inspired to continuously strive to be better everyday because of them. Their unparalleled strength and love for our family keeps me going. All I aspire in life is to be able to bring happiness in their hearts. Mabuhay ang mga babae!” (“Long live the Women!”)


Woman looking into camera holding young child on her hip


Khine Naing, Myanmar,
Dixie State University

“To celebrate the role of women in today’s world, I chose my mother as my hero and first teacher in my life. She has greatly impacted me, with her benevolent guidance and cultivation with great care. Being a woman, she is able to stand up even in hard times, show us what love is and prove to the world that women are powerful and beyond valuable. However, in some corners of the world, women are still facing many kinds of oppression including being deprived of basic human rights solely based on their gender. I, as a man, call on everyone to raise our voices to promote a better world that is inclusive of every gender and identity.”


Yolhie Monchery, Haiti, Saginaw Valley State University

“In honor of International Women’s Day and I really want to share the women who always inspires me. I think we all know this woman, her name is Rihanna.

Why do I choose her? For a lot of reasons. She’s always staying true to herself, she knows who she is, and she’s not trying to please anyone. She’s authentic, gracious, talented, hardworking, beautiful, powerful and she helps other women to be great. When I look at her I really see myself. She is one of the richest people because she works hard to pursue her dreams. Seeing her being the best version of herself and always improving makes me think that I can also do great things. She is not only powerful but vulnerable and that’s really a strength I need and want to develop. Rihanna is proof that women can do big things just as men can. She inspires women to stand up for themselves and to be fearless. I love her confidence and I think confidence is the key . When you’re confident and you know yourself you won’t let people control you or care what people think of you. Her energy is also powerful.

 I hope that you, women in this program, know that you’re great! You don’t need people’s approval. Learn to know yourself, what you want, work on your dreams, stay focused, believe in yourself, and work hard until you achieve your goals. In a world where men are always pushing women down, show them how great you are!”


Joshua Masundah, Zimbabwe, Presbyterian College
male student wearing white collared shirt with arm around woman in white top and stripped skirt smiling with students in background
Tsitsi Masiyiwa, founder of the HigherLife foundation in Zimbabwe

“For International Women’s day, I thought it would be good for me to appreciate one of the women who has made a tremendous impact in my life, Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa.

There is no doubt that she is one of the African women today who, among other African women, are making an impact in Africa, and even globally, now and far into the future. She is a great mentor, philanthropist, woman of faith, and a game-changer. I have learned so much from her. I love her passion for the youth and how she believes that the youth are the future of the African Continent.
Being part of the Higherlife Foundation, a philanthropic organization that she started 25 years ago, has presented me with so many opportunities in my life that I never thought I could reach. I appreciate you and salute you, Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa, and the work you are doing in Africa. Because of you, I have never been confident in myself like I am now and believe that I can change my community and Africa at large. Lastly, I would like to say Happy International Women’s Day to all amazing women out there who are doing amazing things and changing the world.”