DCMS blog

Inspiring Women ‘Women who make London’

by

Fiona Woolf

Women’s Business Council (WBC) Member

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In her second blog as Women’s Business Council (WBC) member of the month, Fiona Woolf meets pupils from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School as part of the Inspiring Women campaign.

Part of the http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/about/inspiring-women-campaign.aspx

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School 11th July 2014

The Education and Employers Taskforce charity was launched on the 15th October 2009 with the aim of ‘ensuring that every school and college has an effective partnership with employers to provide its young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential and so to secure the UK’s future prosperity’. The charity works to achieve this by working in close partnership with leading national bodies representing schools, colleges and employers http://www.educationandemployers.org/about-the-charity/

One of their campaigns is the national Inspiring Women campaign launched on 17 October 2013 and they already have 9,500 amazing women ready to talk with girls, including me and 100 other women here today. Our ambition is to see 15,000 women from a wide range of occupations going into state schools, over the next year, talking to 250,000 young women. Since the 2012 launch of our Inspiring the Future programme, 85% of state secondary schools have signed up as a means of finding volunteers to talk with pupils about jobs and careers.

The school for this event was the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington. They are a school where young women achieve academic excellence, where they are encouraged to participate and excel in artistic and sporting events and where their ambitions and aspirations are nurtured so that they leave us with outstanding qualifications and confidence to serve them well in their further study. The girls at EGA develop a keen sense of their responsibility in shaping a better future for themselves and their communities. They have been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. http://www.egaschool.co.uk/

Fiona Woolf at Elizabeth Garrett  School.jpg

I am passionate about initiatives such as this and they are a critical feature of the Women’s Business Council recommendations for Raising Girls Aspirations which is themed around ‘Starting Out’. The aim is to broaden girls’ aspirations and their understanding of career options by creating more effective partnerships between schools, career development professionals, parents and employers. As a member of the WBC and as the 2nd female Lord Mayor of the City of London, working with Inspiring Futures and EGA seemed like a worthwhile project to show off the City’s talented women. Bearing in mind that 55% of girls aged 11-21 agree that there aren’t enough female role models (Girl Guides 2012) and that ¾ of women still end up in the 5 C’s; cleaning, catering, caring, cashiering and clerical (EOC 2009), this was an opportunity to show them a world of work and different career opportunities. http://womensbusinesscouncil.dcms.gov.uk/1-starting-out/

We were welcomed at EGA by Ms Jo Dibb, the head teacher of EGA. I say we, alongside me was Miriam Gonzales-Durantes. We were enthusiastically given a cheering welcome by the students and we both gave a small speech. I talked about the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and that the fact that fittingly this event coincided with ‘City Giving Day’. This event was all about giving girls opportunities and letting them know that they are the FUTURE. And what a future they can achieve; of the 100 other women at this careers fair, we had all careers covered from being a Choreographer, to a banker, to a poet, to STEM. These may be Inspiring Women now, but I hope the young girls present turn out to be the Inspiring Women of the future.

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