WHY WE NEED FEMALE ROLE MODELS

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LEANNE LINACRE, CO FOUNDER
LEAD5050 | LIVERPOOL, UK

‘You cannot be what you cannot see’. I’ve been musing on that expression for a while now considering exactly why it’s so important to have positive female role models.


In a world where there are more men named John in CEO positions in FSTE100 companies than there are women in the top spots we need all the visible role models we can get. (When you’ve finished reading this article….do a Google Image search of ‘CEO’ and let me know what you think of the results)

As a mother of two little girls concerned about the dearth of positive role models out there, I’m confounded on a daily basis of the sheer lack of imagination of toy makers, TV producers and even a lot of authors.

The vast majority of the stuff aimed at girls is either pink and glittery, often both, and panders to tired old stereotypes that girls are only interested in kittens and ponies or make-up and dressing up.

And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because, guess what, my sporty, imaginative children are becoming more and more interested in kittens, ponies, make-up and dressing up….which is not necessarily the worst thing in the world but there’s most definitely more to life.

My personal female role model of the moment is Malala - for her bravery, self-belief and championing of access to education for all girls. 'One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world'

But this is who my girls love at the moment! JoJo Siwa or JoJo with the Big Bow is an American dancer, singer, actress, and YouTuber. Believe you me, I've tried to encourage them to be inspired by Jessica Ennis, but JoJo wins every time. #gutted #icouldweep #wheredidigowrong????

So this week I love how much well deserved attention the film Hidden Women is getting, celebrating the, untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history.

Even Lego is getting in on the action their latest set celebrating those pioneering women in Nasa….never mind being immortalized in celluloid….give me a Lego figure any time!

Female role models are important for ambitious women. If we can’t look up and see women who have been successful, we are less likely to be successful ourselves. The presence of women in leadership positions and the opportunity to network with them is vital to helping motivate women to advance in their careers.