Why I came up with the idea for a Women of the World Calendar
As the leaves continue to change and the temperatures begin to drop, the end of 2021 is quickly upon us. For many, a new year offers a fresh start and there is no better way to organise the coming year than using a calendar or diary.
For decades, New Internationalist has curated a wide selection of calendars and diaries to suit any style and need. And, the Ethical Shop is the official home of New Internationalist’s diverse range of annuals. As for me, I am the proud editor and commissioner of several of these organisational must-haves. This includes the Women of the World Calendar.
Back in 2019, while working as New Internationalist’s Production Editor, I was asked to come up with a new calendar that would appeal to a wide market. As a woman of colour from the Caribbean, I have always been acutely aware of the lack of representation of women (and those who identify as female) who looked like me – particularly in publishing and the media at large. I wanted to highlight some of the awe-inspiring work that women of colour had achieved throughout history. Yes, a calendar that celebrated the impact all women have had was considered but I felt in the current political climate that those from under-represented corners of the world should be celebrated and given their own platform.
I also wanted to work with an illustrator whose style would capture the likeness and personalities of the featured women – who vary from household to lesser well-known names. Nadia Akingbule – who had worked for the likes of gal-dem and who also identifies as a woman of colour – rose to the occasion and, since its first edition, has delivered vibrant portraits that have wowed us all.
I have to say, when several of my favourite authors agreed to be featured, I was definitely starstruck. For me, the standout feature has to be the Jamaican-British author Andrea Levy (1964–2019) who wrote Small Island in 2004. One of the most fulfilling aspects of working on this calendar each year has to be paying tribute to the lives and works of women who are sadly no longer with us.
I am delighted that, since its first edition in 2020, the Women of the World Calendar has been such a successful publication (selling out each year) that we decided to produce the complementary Women of the World Diary and Notebook for those needing a more portable version that is equally inspiring.
As we become increasingly aware of the importance of protecting our environment, I am proud to say that the 2022 calendar and diary/notebook bundle highlight the extraordinary achievements of not one but several environmental activists. One of them being Artemisa Xakriabá. Nadia’s illustration of the Brazilian human and environmental rights activist has to be my favourite for this edition, as it captures the vibrancy of the Amazon jungle that Artemisa is fiercely fighting to protect.
Other inspirational women featured include the Mexican-American astronaut and engineer Ellen Ochoa, Bangladeshi-British ornithologist Mya-Rose Craig, Nigerian photographer Yagazie Emezi and Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei.
And for the foodies out there, how about a wall calendar that doubles as a recipe source? Look no further than the ever-popular World in Your Kitchen Calendar – another New Internationalist calendar that I am honoured to regularly commission and edit. The coming year’s edition features the beautiful illustrations of Lindsay Pollock, with each month featuring a recipe from a different part of the world. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to which illustration or recipe will be your favourite.
I hope this has inspired you to check out the Ethical Shop’s entire selection of calendars and diaries, which can be found here.