South Wales girls are proving they’ve got what it takes to make a career in a “man’s world”.
On 7 March 2014 over three hundred teenage girls visited Cardiff City Football Stadium for a unique event to celebrate National Careers Week and International Women’s Day.
The ‘Keeping It Equal’ event was organised by a local social enterprise, Full Circle Education Solutions, in partnership with the British Army, to encourage young women to develop aspirations, challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace and to broaden their career horizons.
Girls aged 11-25 heard from a range of inspiring speakers including Alison Ward, Chief Executive of Torfaen Council, and Joy Kent, Chief Executive of leading equality organisation Chwarae Teg, who will share a message of empowerment and aspiration with young women and their teachers.
Girls also had the opportunity to try their hands at non-stereotypical activities, receive information about careers and issues affecting them, and take part in a role model “speed-dating” style session with adult women role models.
Over forty organisations participated in the event to give girls a real-life insight into what a career in a non-traditional industry might entail, including construction, engineering, astrophysics, entrepreneurship, media, the Armed Forces and emergency services.
The idea for the event came from Full Circle’s experience of working in local schools with young women whose aspirations were limited or sometimes non-existent.
Nikki Giant, Director of Full Circle explained why helping girls to realise their ambitions is so important:
“Research shows that boys and girls still hold stereotypical views about gendered job roles.
Nearly 65% of the lowest paid workers in the UK are women – we must work to combat the cycle of disaffection and poverty in our communities by empowering and supporting girls to raise their aspirations and to be able to set their sights on any career they want – instead of being limited by their gender.”
The event was hosted with the British Army, who support this mission to empower young women. “The British Army in Wales is proud to partner this important event which focuses on highlighting non-stereotypical careers to young women to broaden their horizons and develop their aspirations.
It highlights just how many fantastic opportunities there are for young women looking for a rewarding, challenging and exciting role. We want to show potential recruits who are perhaps thinking about how they can improve their careers and lives that there is much more to the Army than meets the eye.”
Providers at the event included — Careers Wales, — ARUP, — The Prince’s Trust Cymru, — South Wales Police, — Techniquest, — Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale College. Sponsors of the event include — Cardiff Council, — the South Wales Fire Service and — GMB Cardiff Branch.
Angie Shiels of GMB confirmed how important events such as this are. “GMB are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile cause. Anything that raises young people’s aspirations and confidence is something the GMB would want to be involved in – we would encourage our members with young people to attend this event.”