International Women's Day: Why is it so important?

As part of special coverage for International Women's Day and Women's History Month, across the week we'll be bringing you the stories of five inspirational women from Cumbria and southern Scotland

From lead scientists working inside coronavirus labs to anti-racist activists, we are shining a light on their incredible achievements. This year's theme is 'Choose to Challenge.'

But why do we celebrate International Women's Day?

Janett Walker, Chair of Anti Racist Cumbria Credit: ITV News

Janett Walker, who co-founded a group aimed at stamping out racism in Cumbria, told ITV Border that it's important to have a dedicated day to celebrate all of amazing things women have done in the last 100 years.

She said it "reminds us that we are scientists, we are activists, we are models, we are singers, some of us are mothers and some of us are lovers.

"We're just great and it's great for us as women to celebrate all of that and to shout about it from the rooftops. It's great to be a woman!"

District Nurse Team Lead Hannah Hinkley. Credit: ITV News

District Nurse Team Lead Hannah Hinkley, who works at the Keswick and Solway ICC, said it's vital to celebrate the day for the next generation. She said: "I have a little girl myself and it's important for us to we make sure that other generations know about what women have had to go through for us to live the life that we do."

Mountain biker coach and diversity specialist Aneela McKenna. Credit: ITV News

Mountain bike guide and diversity specialist Aneela McKenna, who lives in the Borders, said: "Even though we have made masses in progress in getting women equal rights in society, we still have a long way to go.

"We need to celebrate the successes of women, we need to recognise the role models that are out there and get those role models to inspire others. We need to keep doing that until we all have a voice, we all have an equal place at the round the table making decisions. When we are at that place, then we can say that we've achieved true equality."

Infection Sciences Operational Manager Debra Padgett. Credit: ITV News

Infection Sciences Operational Manager for North Cumbria Debra Padgett believes International Women's Day is to celebrate achievements of women and "overcome certain adversities that some ladies have to reach their career goals. It's a fantastic achievement for us."