TO MARK International Women's Day we asked women in Gwent what today means to them.

Here's what they said:

Araminta Jonsson

Founder and editor of Pipe Down magazine

South Wales Argus:

"I am a fighter. I think I must have come into this world fighting. I’m not sure when it stopped being the world I was fighting against though and became a battle against myself. I do know however when I stopped fighting myself and started taking on the world once again. October 23, 2016.

"The day I left an abusive relationship and the day I stopped using crack cocaine. My name is Araminta Jonsson. I am a single parent. I am a writer. I am the editor of Pipe Down Magazine. I am a marketing manager for the international conference company: iCAAD.

"I am a recovering drug addict. I wear many hats, but the one hat that has stayed constant, is that I am a woman.

"Today I am the strongest woman I have ever been and it gives me great pleasure to think that instead of fighting against myself and my sex, I can unite with the collective power that we women have.

"I stand tall and proud of all I have achieved. I can look other women in the eye and feel connection and pride instead of fear and judgement.

" I suppose that International Women’s Day is about celebrating that connection for me. After years of the disconnection that addiction brings, today I celebrate the connection to women all over the world, united in our shared struggles, hardships and gender."

Jackie Miles

Lead nurse for heart failure and cardiac rehabilitation research at Aneurin Bevan Health Board

South Wales Argus:

Jackie Miles (right) with her daughter-in-law Kate-Anne Kelly

“International Women’s Day gives me the opportunity to reflect on the collective achievements of women across all divides. Nursing research provides evidence to support patient care across the world and became an invaluable part of my job as a nurse specialist nearly two decades ago.

"I realised there was a gap in research, especially in the UK, looking at the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation for patients with heart failure.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have had during my nursing career.

International Women’s Day is a celebration of the opportunities that women have as equals in society, to study, to work, to contribute to life-changing projects. It is also a chance to look forward and ensure that women all over the world are afforded the same rights and opportunities, with a view to achieving real gender parity.”

Debbie Wilcox

Newport City Council leader

South Wales Argus: Newport Council leader Debbie Wilcox

"The day always reminds me of how I firstly became active in local politics. My stepfather Terry was a miner in the Beddau Colliery near Llantrisant and he was one of the many thousands of South Wales Miners involved in the Coal Strike of 1984-85. I saw at first hand how the ideology of the Government in Westminster led by Margaret Thatcher was systematically destroying communities through closure of our heavy industries of coal and steel.

"I couldn’t stand by and do nothing so I became involved in helping with the Maerdy Womens Support Group in the Rhondda.

"The Social Security Act of 1980 had removed the right to welfare benefits for strikers. Benefits were only available to “dependents” – wives (not partners) and children.

" With families losing their homes, women’s groups distributed food donated by the public. They held money-raising events, ran soup kitchens, spoke at rallies and stood on picket lines.

"This alliance of tough, capable and compassionate women was the backbone of the strike, providing the physical comfort of food and the emotional reassurance of a listening ear. "

Christina Harrhy

Interim chief executive at Caerphilly County Borough Council

South Wales Argus:

"International Women’s Day provides a great platform to celebrate and recognise the contribution of women across many sectors, both past and present. For me though, I want to use it as an opportunity to appeal to our younger generation and to hopefully boost their hopes and aspirations for the future.

“On International Women’s Day I will have the great pleasure of meeting a group of young people from a local Rainbows unit for their ‘EqualiTEA’ party, and really look forward to discussing their aspirations for the future with them. Of course, 2018 also marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act of 1918 which allowed women to vote for the first time, so it’s a great year to be celebrating all that has been achieved so far and to look forward to all that our younger generation will achieve in the future.”

Janet Martin

Owner of Barnabas Arts House

South Wales Argus:

"Firstly I think that is rather shameful that such a day has to exist. In its existence, it shows that we have to take a day out to recognize the achievements of women as if it is some sort of novelty still and I believe that for as long as we flag up women's achievements as being out of the ordinary they will be just that - 'out of the ordinary'.

"We women all know that our capabilities are vast. We are by our very biology capable of nurturing protecting and loving a human being without even seeing it .We have historically been innate managers of micro businesses called "homes" and pulled on all the skills of financial management, interpersonal skills, health care, care of the elderly, and scheduling.

"Nowadays many women still perform these tasks as well as being employed outside the home. They can and do most of the jobs that men do and to an equal standard.

"I am lucky enough to live the life I love. I have healthy children and grandchildren. I can support myself and I live and work in Newport a place that I also love."

Judith Paget

Chief executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

South Wales Argus:

“International Women’s Day provides a great opportunity for us to recognise the important contribution that women make to all sectors of society and in the workplace.

“I would like to pay tribute to all the women who work in our Health Board, both clinical and non-clinical, who help ensure we provide the highest standards of care to our patients and support to our communities.

“Our focus must always be on having the right people with the right skills delivering quality care and services.

“I am proud to be the Chief Executive of this Health Board and for the support I have received from other women during my career and who have supported my personal development.”

Superintendent Vicki Townsend

South Wales Argus:

“In my organisation, we have a very good representation of women in senior positions however I still believe we have work to do in encouraging women to fulfil their ambition and potential. No-one can do everything, that’s unrealistic, but I think the message of IWD for me is “you can do it if you put your mind to it”.