Inspiring Women, Women in Journalism and News UK hosted 30 of the UK’s top female journalists and editors and 150 young women from state schools across London for a morning of networking, advice, and of course, inspiration.
Co-hosted by Editorial Director of the Sunday Times, Eleanor Mills, and one of the champion founders of the Inspiring Women Campaign, Miriam Gonzalez, school girls from the ages of 10-18 gathered in groups for the event’s speed networking session, gaining top tips and tricks from seasoned media professionals.
The sparky participants had plenty of taxing questions for the 30 volunteers provided by Women in Journalism, including, “How do you make sure you’re telling the truth all the time?” and, “Have you ever been disappointed with the work you’ve produced?”. Once those tougher questions from the Paxman school of interviewing were answered, the most frequently asked question was simply, “Why journalism?”. Our passionate volunteers replied with answers along the lines of “insatiable nosiness” and “curiosity”, but also said that the media’s role in helping to understand the world we live in was a key driving force in their careers.
With so much advice at the event, Sue Ryan, former Daily Telegraph managing editor, lifelong journalist and Daily Mail trainee recruiter, suggested the young women take home three main points from the morning to help guide and shape their careers. The first is to love your job: don’t drift into work just because it’s there, find something you love doing and you will do well. The second is to work hard at your job: becoming successful can be difficult but its rewards are certainly worth the effort. And finally have a good attitude: be interested in the world around you and interesting to the people you meet.
The event was part of the Inspiring Futures match-making programme which connects over 25,000 professionals from all industries, from apprentices to CEOs, to educate and inspire the next generation of women. The campaign and its sister Charity, Inspiring Girls International, continues to spread its influence, bringing female role models and students together from as far as Uganda to Washington.
But here in London, as we looked out over the City Skyline, the room buzzed with enthusiastic conversation, the excitement palpable as both professionals and students inspired one another. Yesterday’s event was so successful that we now hope to continue hosting the inspirational mornings every six months with different schools from across and beyond London.
The teachers from the participating schools have all said how much the girls enjoyed it and how much they got out of talking to such amazing and inspirational women. We collected feedback from the girls afterwards and here are just a few of their comments:
‘I really like that it was all women. I have been to other things like this before but it is all men so I am very happy to see the female point of view as well’.
‘I really enjoyed meeting all the brilliant women who until today, I did not know how much they impacted the world of journalism’.
‘I really enjoyed finding the answers to my questions and meeting people and knowing what their life is like’.
‘I enjoyed meeting people who started off like me and getting some advice’.
‘I really enjoyed the fact that we were able to talk to women in different stages or places in journalism’.
‘I enjoyed knowing that there are more options out there for women and that we can do anything if we set our minds to it’.
Can you help spread the word?
If you have enjoyed the event please can you help us spread the word and encourage other women to volunteer? With your help, we think we could get another 5,000 women to sign up and give an hour a year to inspire girls in the UK www.inspiringwomencampaign.org
It would be great if you could tweet along the following lines: “Give an hour a year to inspire the next generation of women in the UK. I have @InspiringTF http://www.educationandemployers.org/news/10514/”
Thanks go to Inspiring Women, Women in Journalism, News UK, Education and Employers and all of the schools that took part, including Addey and Stanhope School, Ark Walworth Academy, Brit School, Burntwood School (Tooting), Cardinal Pole Catholic School, Cheam High School, Hackney New School, Oxford Garden Primary School, Pimlico Academy, Skinners’ Academy, St Andrew’s C of E High School, St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Church of England School and Barham Primary School. We hope to see you all next time!
For more wonderful images of the event taken by Em Fitzgerald Photography click here.