It’s no secret that Ann Summers are all for female sexual empowerment. And by the looks of it, we’re not alone. So, what better time to show this other than International Women’s Day?

We’re celebrating the women who’ve paved the way for our freedom. Those who’ve had a huge cultural impact on female liberation, and those who are still working hard to ensure equality for all today.

Take a look at our picks of iconic women who’ve owned their sexuality and helped shape the world we now live in.

Meghan Markle

What’s interesting is that I hear a lot of people saying, when talking about girl’s empowerment and women as well, you’ll often hear people saying, ‘You’re helping them find their voices’, I fundamentally disagree with that. Women don’t need to find their voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.

There’s a reason why she’s one of the most influential women in the world. Retired actress turned British royal, long gone are the days when the Duchess of Sussex plays Rachel Zane. Undeniably outspoken, she is one of the few celebrities to use their strong influence to address issues like gender inequality. Strong willed, talented and empathetic, she without a doubt has earned her place on our list.

Emma Watson

Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom. It’s about liberation. It’s about equality. I really don’t know what my t*ts have to do with it.

Brown University graduate Emma has proved time and time again that she’s more than a ‘pretty face’. And she has the credentials to prove it. Appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014, she has also encouraged men to become an advocate for gender equality with her campaign #HeForShe. Impressive right?

Jada Pinkett Smith

I think, as women, we have to stop being scared to be the women we want to be, and we have to raise our daughters to be the women they want to be – not the women we think they should be.

Jada has been a Hollywood actress for almost two decades, but she’s certainly earned her stripes as an activist, too. Not only has she supported a list of charities over the years, but she is now the executive producer and host of Facebook talk show Red Table Talk, discussing controversial topics like motherhood and sexual empowerment. A very wise lady who features an impressive list of insightful celebrity guests, she along with her mother and daughter Willow’s openness about sensitive topics is truly authentic. Probably why her debut show was watched 27 million times…

All three of these lovely ladies are from different generations, so it’s interesting for viewers to listen to their different perspectives on certain issues.

Beyonce

I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country and knowing that her possibilities are limitless.

Queen Bee has earned her crown for a reason…

The fiercest entertainer Music business, Beyonce embodies strength throughout. In person she may have a softer side, but she’s still pro-feminist none the less. The fact that the self-deemed ‘modern day feminist’ sampled Nigerian author Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talks speech ‘We should all be feminists’ into her song Flawless is proof enough. She was also featured in Ban Bossy’s campaign, which uses television and social media to encourage leadership in young girls.

Katie Piper

Stop asking yourself ‘why has this happened’ and instead ask ‘how can I recover?

Following her acid attack in 2008, there’s no denying that Katie’s inner strength is truly inspiring. Following the incident, she has since blossomed and has a bright future ahead of her as a humanitarian, writer, and TV presenter. The embodiment of body positivity, she has also fronted the documentary series Bodyshockers, giving advice to those who want to restore their natural looks.

Serena Williams

It’s okay to look strong, be sexy and be unbreakable.

Ranked number one by the Women’s Tennis Association, Serena has deservedly made her mark as the world’s best female tennis player. Her self-assured approach to meeting her goals highlights the fact that she does not let her gender get in the way for her need to succeed. And all whilst taking care of her child. Something for many young women to aspire to…

Laverne Cox

It’s important with all of the messages that might tell you otherwise that you have that in yourself to say that ‘I am beautiful. I am smart and I’m amazing.

Actress and LGBT activist Laverne Cox was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category and has won numerous awards for her activism. And to top it off, her fierce personality to everything makes her a winner in our eyes…

Jacqueline Gold

I want to be certain that when my daughter grows up she can be whoever she wants to be, and she isn’t restricted by the gender barriers we often see stand in the way of young women.

Ann Summers owner Jacqueline Gold shaped Ann Summers into the iconic retail empire it is today, helping thousands of women discover how to take control of their own pleasure. She’s been named Britain’s most powerful woman more than once and has won numerous awards in business. And she’s not stopping anytime soon. In 2011 she set up her #WOW Twitter campaign, encouraging female business owners to give an overview about their companies for Jacqueline’s 57,000 followers to see.

Madonna

I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.

Globally iconic, culturally ground-breaking, and unapologetically sexy, Madonna has faced misogyny throughout her career, and always comes out on top. Often revolutionary and always relevant, her outspokenness showed young women that they, too, could be unapologetic about who they are.

Oprah Winfrey

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

Media mogul Oprah’s self-titled talk show was the highest viewed television program of its kind in history. So, with this alongside with her acting stints and being the executive producer of hit TV show Greenleaf, it’s no surprise that she has been dubbed ‘the queen of media’. She’s also ranked as one of the world’s greatest philanthropist, and let’s not forget about her involvement in #MeToo…

Michelle Obama

I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.

She may have left the White House, but it doesn’t seem like the former First Lady is stopping anytime soon. Keeping her title as one of the world’s top 25 most influential women, Michelle has never shied away from speaking her mind, and has since launched her memoir Becoming. She has also made numerous appearances and was featured in the video for the Global Citizens Festival, highlighting the need to giving young women a better education.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.

At the start of her legal career, she found it difficult to find employment. And now she’s made history as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Participating in over 300 discrimination cases by 1974, the Harvard graduate spent a broad part of her career winning victories as an advocate against gender inequality and women’s rights. A fiery force of nature, Ginsburg has received a lot of attention in American pop culture. So, it’s no wonder she’s been labelled the ‘Notorious R.B.G.’

We hope these women have left you feeling as inspired as we are. To continue your inspirational journey, why not read our blog on boosting sexual confidence?