Megan Dyos was born in Thanet, and went to school in Ramsgate until she was 7. As she explains: ‘We then moved out of the area, and returned when I was 14 and I went to The Charles Dickens School and then sixth form at Chatham House. Growing up by the sea was just beautiful, and even though I no longer live in Thanet I am constantly popping home to get some sea air! Ramsgate is my favourite town in Thanet. There is a huge amount of history, and I just love the Harbour and the stark contrast between the empty and bleak beaches in the winter with the wild sea horses crashing right out into the channel, compared to the busy, bustling summer months where everyone uses the beaches to top up their tan. I love it - Ramsgate will always be my home.’
Having grown up here, she has seen the area evolve: ‘All of Thanet has undergone huge changes since I was young. Thanet is on the London map more than it has ever been in my lifetime and so many people are coming down to the area, meaning that more places are opening up and independent businesses in town are unique and make Ramsgate even more worth visiting. Seeing places such as the former Royal Pavilion in Ramsgate developed is so exciting for the area!’
Famed as one of the all-female coxless crew who rowed the Pacific in 2015, Megan shares POW!Thanet’s belief that women are to be celebrated. ‘As well as aiding discussion, it's a chance to celebrate all the achievements and contributions that women have added to the world! I am passionate about women and just how strong and beautiful we all are as a sex, and that is why I wanted to be involved in International Women’s Day.’
Though of course that’s not to say there still isn’t room for improvement. ‘Although there are numerous issues that we are all facing today, there is one in particular that is just so prominent - the gender pay gap. Women now make up 47% of the UK workforce, but figures from 2014 show that for every pound a man makes, a woman will only earn 80p.
I want everyone to be able to reach their dreams and not be held back by any unequal nonsense. The only person that should be able to hold you back is yourself, not your sex, not your background, not your race - we are all equal.’
Megan certainly refuses to be held back; she wasn’t even a rower when she joined The Coxless Crew; ‘After working as an Estate Agent in the City, and having never rowed before, I left to row across the Pacific Ocean with The Coxless Crew, an all-female crew of six women. We set two world records and as a team managed to cross the whole 9000 miles of the Pacific from America to Australia in our pink 29 foot rowing boat called Doris completely unsupported; raising funds for Breast Cancer Care and Walking with the Wounded. I will be talking about our experience at the Taylor Hall, St Lawrence College on Friday 10 March, inspiring others to say ‘YES’!
I would hope that this festival continues to be a celebration of women’s achievements and success - a platform to inspire younger women to be the best that they can be, and to continue to empower women. I would also hope that this is a festival that continues to work as a call to action for accelerating gender parity.’
Megan is now inspiring the next generation. ‘Since returning from the row, I am training to be an English Teacher in South East London. I decided whilst rowing that I wanted to inspire the younger generation to say ‘yes’, get outside and feel empowered that they can do anything that they set out to achieve. I have not rowed since I have been back and, considering I hadn’t rowed before I got onto Doris, I might leave the rowing to a Pacific Ocean memory! I am back into running and am currently preparing for a half marathon over Easter.'