Role models for women have changed dramatically throughout the past few decades, be they trailblazers of peace talks, top-ranking politicians or sports stars at the top of their game, their inspiration and influence has only grown in a modern world.



New research, commissioned by Exodus Travels to mark International Women’s Day shows that Anne Frank and Princess Diana (28%) are the most inspirational, with Marie Curie (27%), JK Rowling (23%) and Michelle Obama (23%) close behind in the list.

It wasn’t just women, social campaigns and movements also inspired modern women with #MeToo/ The Silence Breakers, the This Girl Can movement and the Dove Real Beauty campaign making the top 20.

However, 54% of those asked said that the UK’s schools may not be doing as much as they can to encourage female role models.

To commemorate International Women’s Day, adventurer Elise Wortley has taken the inspiration of her historical hero, Alexandra David-Neel – a Belgian/French explorer best known for her trans-Himalayan trek to visit Lhasa, Tibet when it was still forbidden to foreigners.

Elise replicated her exact trek in the exact conditions Alexandra would have encountered in 1924; her backpack was made of an old chair, her clothes matched what a 1920s woman would have worn – a true experience of what it was like to push yourself as a woman in the early 20th century. She hopes that she will inspire other women to take solo expeditions and push themselves to see what is possible too.

The research explored how many modern women would take up a similar challenge and found that 11% would consider solo travel anywhere in the world, with 34% saying they would travel alone, but only to certain parts of the world. However, a lot of women still fear for their safety (70%), something pioneering female explorer, Alexandra David-Neel had no concern for as she trekked across Tibet and beyond.

Elise’s extraordinary journey has helped to raise money for the charity Freedom Kit Bags. These Freedom Kits are filled with re‐usable sanitary products and are delivered to women and girls in rural and low income areas of Nepal, helping to end cultural taboos around menstruation. Social stigma in these communities often results in women being excluded from daily life, and young girls not attending school.

To watch Elise’s extraordinary journey you can watch it here