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Inspiring girls to aim higher

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launch, inspiring womenCall for professional women to give an hour each year to talk to young women in local state schools.

Last week the The Inspiring the Future campaign launched  ‘Inspiring Women’, a campaign is to see 15,000 women from a wide range of occupations going into state schools, over the next year, to talk to 250,000 young women about the range of jobs available and entry routes into them.

The campaign was launched by Miriam González Durántez, an international lawyer and a partner at Dechert LLP and wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

In the event brochure, she said: ‘Women suffer from stereotyping all over the world, including in Europe and in the UK: if we succeed in our professional lives, we’re branded “scary”; if we follow fashion, we’re “shallow”; if we like science, we’re “geeks”; if we read women’s magazines, we’re “fluffy”; and if we defend our rights, we’re “hard”.

‘It is little wonder that girls struggle, amid so many absurd labels, to identify the right path for them.

‘According to research by Girlguiding UK, 55 per cent of girls aged between 11 and 21 say they feel there are not enough female role models.

‘However, in reality, there are not only enough female role models, but a surplus of them. Our new national campaign will encourage women from all walks of life to form a network of role models to talk about their lives and share their experiences in with state schools girls.’

The launch, at Lancaster House in London, saw a hundred girls from eleven state secondary schools talk about jobs and careers with ten high profile successful women, and a ‘career speed networking’ event which Miriam González Durántez hosted.

Other high profile women taking part included BBC Journalist Fiona Bruce, EasyJet CEO Carolyn McColl and Athene Donald DBE, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge.

‘Inspiring Woman’ was set up after research revealed that girls respond best to other women and that 75 per cent of women still work in stereotypically female sectors such as cleaning, catering, caring, cashiering and clerical work.

There is nothing wrong at all with that, Miriam González Durántez said, but girls should also feel free to make a difference in science, IT, engineering or maths if that is what they like.

The campaign is run by the Education and Employers Taskforce charity with support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Speaking at the event, Miriam González Durántez said: “Every woman can be a role model for the new generations, no matter the path they have chosen in their lives.

“Through taking women into state schools to talk face-to-face with girls around the country this campaign will help to remove the stereotypes and absurd labels that still surround women. Young girls deserve to feel free to aim high.”

Inspiring Women is calling on professional women to give up an hour of their time each year to support young women in local state schools.

Anyone can volunteer with Inspiring the Future – you can be a young apprentice, graduate recruit or a seasoned chief executive, or you can offer insight into working for yourself.

To find out how to volunteer, or how your school can register, visit their website.

  1. Petra Wolf says:

    With all due respect but this is more a token activity than anything else. In reality you find that those “high profile” women you are referring to do not promote or support other women in their own organisations but carefully maintain the status quo. Further, those women are well adjusted and work tightly within the current system therefore will not really encourage anyone to question existing rules and boundaries but just to conform and adapt to fit in. So, we are not changing society to acknowledge women and their unique way of contributing to every area of life but further enforce an implicit message of inadequacy because women do not have high enough aspirations…

  2. Dont think the problem is so much girls lacking inspiration, they lack support from people around them who regard them as inferior and a threat to male superiority if they do too well. To present the problem as girls lack of inspiration is victim blaming when you consider how many girls are subject to sexist violence or witness sexist violence at school.

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