Equal opportunities charity, The Girls’ Network, has today launched its first Christmas fundraising campaign, The Empowerium: The women’s empowerment marketplace.
The fake online ‘store’ offers women a selection of products that they shouldn’t need to get ahead in their careers: a pink hammer for smashing glass ceilings; Pay Gap Filler for women who are ‘tired of waiting for society to fix the holes in their income’; ‘Lean In’ heels; and the ‘Have-It-All’ hold-all, which ‘comes in three daring shades: fuchsia, rose and blush’.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the real issues that women face in their careers, including the gender pay gap, having to choose whether to prioritise work or family, and needing to work harder to receive the same level of recognition as their male peers. It encourages the public to do something that will make a real difference to gender equality in the workplace: making a donation to The Girls’ Network.
Launched in 2013, The Girls’ Network exists to advance the career prospects of girls and young women from the least advantaged communities. Data shows that there are around 150,000 girls in the UK eligible for Free School Meals. Fewer than half of these girls will get pass rates at GCSE and only six per cent will go on to university. There are currently 100,000 more young women than young men who are NEET (not in education, employment or training), and young women remain NEET for a longer period of time than their male counterparts.
The Girls’ Network matches up girls aged between 14 and 19 from these least advantaged communities with a mentor who helps them build their confidence and professional skills and opens up networks and opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Alongside the mentoring programme, the girls are offered workshops, panel events and work experience opportunities. The charity supports over 1000 girls a year across eight regions (Greater Manchester, London, Merseyside, North East, Portsmouth, Sussex, Tees Valley and West Midlands).
Speaking about the campaign, Charly Young, CEO and co-founder of The Girls’ Network, said, “We believe that no young woman should have her future limited by her gender, ethnicity, background, or parental income.”
“We want to see all girls being supported to realise their ambitions, discover their self-worth, and develop their capacity to shape the world and their future.”
“This year, Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on those from the least advantaged communities and shaken many young people as they struggled with challenging exam conditions.”
“These factors make our work more vital than ever, and we hope people will consider The Girls’ Network in their Christmas charity donations so that we can continue expanding horizons for the benefit of all.”
After taking part in The Girls’ Network programme, 97 per cent of girls reported a ‘significant increase’ in their belief that they will achieve great things in their lives. 98 per cent feel more positive about their future, and 96 per cent say that their mentor has improved their confidence.
16-year-old Shantae from Balham, south London, said, “My favourite thing about the Programme is that not only has it helped me develop confidence and communication skills, it’s given me the opportunity to meet professionals from the working world.”
“These contacts have given me great advice and I know I can keep in touch with them in the future.”
“I don’t think I would have had this experience if it wasn’t for the programme.”
“It’s been reassuring to know I’ve got my mentor to talk to, even in lockdown.”
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