Wednesday, 9 March 2016

New Series Launch // The Importance of Female Role Models

This post may be a little more serious than is usually found here however, it is something I feel strongly about. Yesterday was International Women's Day and this year I pledged to 

.....continue to help and encourage girls and women to achieve their ambition.

This pledge was an integral part of my mission statement when I set up my business and has continued both in my heritage work and my role as an athletics coach. 

Gender stereotypes are still played out and apparent, not only in other parts of the world, but also in communities throughout the UK.  Through my community engagement work for example, I have seen first hand that in many industrial areas that there remains a very distinct view on both men and women’s roles within society, resulting in girls having a limited view on what they can achieve in life and many not partaking in further education or setting career goals.

Although gender equality has come a long way in recent years, there is a long way to go. The World Economic Forum has predicted that it will take until 2133 for gender parity to be achieved; that's another 117 years! The pace of progression has slowed down so drastically that some parts of the world are actually regressing and we must all take responsibility to create a world where respect, opportunity and pay is equal, regardless of sex, race, religion and education is a given for all.

Not only is this a basic human right, but our economy prospers when women hold senior positions.

As a mother of girls this is not just a professional belief, but also personal. I feel that in order to raise girls' aspirations there is a greater need for positive female role models.

I am thankful that our girls are growing up wishing to reach out beyond the norms with varied interests from rugby and politics to dance. They recognise and are in awe of strong women such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Malala Yousafzai and Jessica Ennis - Hill and that they are growing up feeling able to embrace their feminity and becoming kick - ass women! However, it worries me that many of the girls I've worked with their age aspire to be reality television stars and are unaware of the achievements that are being made by women on a daily basis. 

The media holds a significant role in this; only today statistics have been produced stating that there has been a 54% increase in the number of children or young people in the UK between 2005 - 2012, many presenting with eating disorders and feeling that their self worth lies in how they look and not in their strength and abilities. 

Not only does the media sexualise women, but it fails to give equal coverage of women's sports and role models and minimises their achievements where they could inspire girls to break through the prehistoric, glass ceilings that have been set under stereotypical gender norms.

This of course is not a new phenomena; the daily lives of women and their impact on local society should be an integral part of our history and heritage, yet throughout history has frequently been ignored and in education is still patchy at best. 

It is important to promote and mainstream women’s history, enabling the public to engage with a ‘whole’ history; recognise women’s contribution and enrich their understanding of how people lived in the past. Promoting women’s history alongside the history of men in our countries past also enables reflection on women’s position in contemporary society.  

It is time for all of us to step up and raise the next generation of confident, successful and independent women.

As part of my pledge, I am launching a new series that will profile inspirational, female role models each Wednesday. Role models need not be famous; women up and down the country hold incredible skills, achieving great success or helping other people on a daily basis. 

Feminism is still sometimes seen as a 'dirty' word, wrongly conjuring the idea of a quest for female superiority and domination. Feminism stands for equality. 

Is it really too much to ask that our daughters and granddaughters, wherever they may live, grow up in a world where they are treated equally and with the same life opportunities as men? 

I am lucky enough to work with some amazing organisations and individuals (men and women), who will not stop working until gender parity is achieved. 

Will you make a pledge?

Join me next week for the first profile in the Insipring Women series.

Linking up with #CityCountryLife


  1. I think it's so important to raise our daughters to believe they can do anything. But that attribute should never be called arrogant, bossy, stubborn etc. My aim to to reframe the language we use around our daughter - how it's far more important to be strong, determined, brave... yes, pretty, beautiful etc. aren't bad things but let's acknowledge there's more to being female than pink shoes.

  2. I totally believe girls need strong role models in all aspects of their life and that there's still a long way to go. But equally I don't want to get there through quotas on boards etc - it's a conundrum. My mum was a strong lady, but yet I was always told I was bossy - now that I think I should have been told I was an organiser. I don't feel like I've been held back, but equally I think I've had to work hard for what I've achieved. #CityCountryLife

  3. Such a fantastic post Amy, I too feel so strongly about this subject and I could spend hours talking about it. I used to work in an extremely male dominated industry, with 2 degrees and fluent in four languages, I was probably the most qualified person in the office, yet because I was female and because I looked a certain way, I had to work 100 times harder for people to take me seriously. It's so important for young girls to have strong positive role models, looking forward to reading your new series and thank you for linking up to #CityCountryLife Becca xx


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