Education

You Cannot Be What You Cannot See

When I was at school, the career guidance we received was basic, if not non-existent. At the time, I was getting good results and I wanted to study law, which apparently meant no further guidance was necessary. Never mind the fact that my flawed reasoning for studying law was based on

watching Ally McBeal and The Practice, and English was actually my worst subject at school!

Reading Hadley Freeman’s Be Awesome introduced me to the Bechdel test. It’s a simple test, but it’s shocking how few movies actually manage to pass the first hurdle. Think of a movie right now and try it:

  1. Is there more than one female lead character in the movie?
  2. Do the women have a conversation with each other?
  3. Is the conversation about something other than the men in the movie?

Watching Jessica Chastain in a lead role in Interstellar, as a genius scientist trying to save the world, brought tears to my eyes as I realised how rare a sight this was to see such an inspiring female role model in a blockbuster movie. It saddened me to think of all the potential future awesome female professionals not even knowing how awesome they can be, just because they haven’t seen it.

One woman is working to change this – but needs the help of 1000s more. Gabriella Oakley is working on Inspiring the Future, by arranging for over 18,500 professional women to visit local state schools/colleges to talk about their career paths, and the many options available to young women outside of the 5 C’s – Cleaning, Catering, Cashiering, Caring and Clerical.

ITF-StatisticsIf you’re interested and can spare an hour a year with a school in your area, you can sign up via their website – www.inspiringthefuture.org – and share your story to help guide and inspire the young professional women of the future. Be part of the change you want to see.

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