Why we’re celebrating our female vendors on International Women’s Day

Meet some of the amazing women who sell The Big Issue

The women out selling The Big Issue come face to face with violence or intimidatory language on a daily basis. While no Big Issue vendor has it easy—all have different and complex back stories—our female vendors have specific issues to deal with as they go about their work.

As well as the intimidation they are subjected to on their pitches, some of our female vendors have also had to overcome domestic violence, abuse, addiction or disability to get where they are today. Many more look after families while going out to sell The Big Issue to keep a roof over their heads, and some are also finding the time to undertake training courses in order to create more opportunities in their lives.

Homelessness continues to rise at an alarming rate in this country. Rough sleeping has risen for seven consecutive years in England. We celebrate our vendors as they work to find a way forward in challenging circumstances. Here are just a few stories from the inspirational women who are such a big part of the Big Issue family—stop and talk to them, buy a magazine, help them make positive change in their life.

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Lynne Smith, outside Sainsbury’s, Union Street, Birmingham

“Before I was a vendor I was quite shy. Now I’ve got the biggest gob in Birmingham”

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Eva Stan, outside Body Shop, Nottingham

“There are some very nice parks in the city. My kids love running around outdoors.”

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Ana-Maria Dragusin, Church’s newsagent, Keynsham

“I love children – I want to train as a midwife one day”

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June Fullerton, Outside Iceland, Poole Road, Westbourne

“I like the idea of being able to work your way out of trouble”

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Polly Baggott, Park Place, Cardiff

“The Big Issue gives you that work ethic. You get up, come into the office, and do your job ”

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Estera, outside Waitrose, Harborne, Birmingham

“Customers ask why I smile so much when people can be rude. But I love The Big Issue”

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Julie Cherry, outside M&S, Wimborne, Bournemouth

“It’s harder to be a woman when you’re rough sleeping”

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Rose Fu, North London 

“I have been selling The Big Issue for six years. My partner, John, also sells in Muswell Hill now. We met through The Big Issue. John was my vendor”

We believe in the right to citizenship.

Which is why the Big Issue Foundation, our charitable arm, helps sellers tackle their social and financial exclusion.

Learn More