Inspiring Women China


The Inspiring Women campaign is delighted to announce that in partnership with the British Council China we are officially launching Inspiring Women China.

The official launch event took place on Sunday 4th December in Beijing. Amongst guests were Her Majesty’s Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward DCMG OBE; Paralympic gold medalist Susie Rodgers; Carma Elliott CMG OBE, Director of British Council China and Ching Tien, founder of Educating Girls of Rural China in attendance.


Since its launch in 2013 the Inspiring Women campaign, run by the charity Education and Employers, has connected over 20,000 amazing women with over 500,000 school girls. Our range of events, including those held with Aston Martin, the Ministry of Defence and the London Stock Exchange, would not have been possible without the dedication of our amazing Inspiring Women volunteers. We are now able to reach young women in the world’s leading economy, helping to breakdown gender stereotypes and broaden horizons.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for their continued support for the campaign. Jennifer Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said “we are extremely proud of our association with the Inspiring Women campaign which already provides such valuable counsel to young women across the UK. The programme’s international expansion to China is very exciting as it will give even more young women the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the vast array of career options available to them.”

“It is through programmes such as this that Education and Employers are making great strides in helping to break barriers for women to enter particular industries. Ultimately, these efforts will improve workplace diversity which is essential in today’s modern business world. I hope that companies across China will sign up to Inspiring Women so that together, we can all help young women around the world, to realise their potential, take charge of their futures and become tomorrow’s leaders.”


We are incredibly excited about what the future holds for our Inspiring Women campaign and the opportunity to help raise the aspirations of young women on a global scale.

To sign up to volunteer with Inspiring Women, register for free on our website.

To see photos from the launch event check out the Flickr album.

Follow us on twitter @Edu_employers @InspiringTF


Equal Pay Day 2016

November 10 marks Equal Pay Day, the day on which women are effectively no longer earning for the year due to the average 18% pay gap that is accepted as part of a woman’s working life. In honour of the day, The Stylist ran a campaign that encouraged women to leave work at 3:34pm, 18% earlier than the traditional 9-5 working day.

Efforts to close the pay gap can be greatly helped by encouraging women to pursue those careers that offer a more competitive wage. Better paid jobs, such as those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are dominated by men, with women making up only 14.4% of the workforce in these areas. A recent survey by the Open University found that 49% of women regret not pursuing careers in these areas, with 56% saying it was a lack of insight and advice about how to access these jobs whilst they were young that was a contributing factor. To read the full report by the Open University click here

Our #RedrawTheBalance video ( is evidence to the belief that only men can pursue certain jobs being formed in children’s minds at primary school age. In addition to the wage disparity and unequal spread of sector roles, women make up 54% of temp workers and 55% of zero hour contract workers, reinforcing the need to reach out to girls at a young age, when they are making decisions that will impact their futures.

Something as simple as talking to young girls about the different career paths they can pursue and encouraging them to aim high and broaden their horizons is invaluable to inspiring young girls to pursue their aspirations. Our Inspiring Women campaign has over 20,000 women talking to over 500,000 state school girls, empowering the next generation of women to dream big.

You can share this post to encourage the inspiring women that you know to sign up on our website to volunteer to talk to school girls. All we ask is one hour, once a year for you to make a real difference.

Karen Bonner: Head of Nursing for Patient Experience at Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust


Nursing is still dominated by women, with men making up only 10% of those entering the profession. Despite this, as I move up the career ladder in healthcare I recognise that there are fewer women in leadership positions and little progress has been made to address the lack of diversity at senior levels within the NHS. I became involved in the Inspiring Women and Primary Futures campaign to become a visible role model to children and young girls. I feel strongly that having positive role models can help you see that you can achieve anything you want in life with a bit of hard work, grit and determination.

My top tips to achieving what you want in life are, find something you are passionate about, be the best you can be and focus on doing a good job. I constantly think what added value I can bring and remember it is important to inspire confidence in those you work with. Get yourself a mentor, someone who inspires you to see the possibilities and believe that these can be obtained.

My siblings and I are the first generation of my family born in the UK. My parents both emigrated from the West Indian British colonies Jamaica and Barbados in the search for a better life. They were diligent and dedicated to their family. They recognised the importance of a good education for our future and they worked hard extend this opportunity to my siblings and I. As a product of immigrant parents, I was aware of the challenges my parents overcame and I wanted to make something of myself.

I was fortunate to know from a young age just what I wanted to do with my life. I applied for my nurse training aged 18 and qualified age 21. Being a professional nurse means adhering to the code: standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. Entering such a profession carries with it great privilege and responsibility.

I became a ward sister aged 29 and aged 35 I became matron. In 2008 I won matron and nurse of the year at the Trust for my leadership potential and contribution to the Trust values. My current post is Head of Nursing for Patient Experience. I provide strategic nursing leadership in order to maintain and develop high quality, cost effective service for patients, whilst working with teams building clinical leadership to delivery good high quality care.

Be fearless, there are infinite possibilities; life is just waiting for you.


Inspiring Women in the Arts Business with Sotheby’s


When I was a teenager, my biggest female role model was my mother. She was a professional concert pianist, who performed in the first night of the Proms. She had a career as a concert pianist and also had three children. She always encouraged me to believe in myself and set the bar high, which was fantastic.

The best way to inspire young women and broaden their horizons is to be open to as many different experiences, trying things and not letting yourself be held back by any preconceptions. Be open. Working as a woman in the arts sector, one can’t say it’s a man’s world only, the art world is a sector which is great for women to work in, with a long established tradition of trailblazers from Gertrude Stein to Peggy Guggenheim.

I think the best advice I can give to young women entering the world of work or wanting to work in the arts is it is very helpful to get advice and insight from other women who are working in that sector. Having a mentor or role model, from someone who is only one to two years ahead to much further on in their career, a mentor with whom you have a strong bond at work is incredibly useful. I also think it is very useful to try out different areas of the art world to see where you fit in. The art world has state run and also private sectors within it; it is a global world, so try different things out.

By Helena Newman.

Joanne Jackson, Olympic Swimmer, shares her tips for success


In the wake of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, there is no better time to highlight and celebrate the outstanding achievements of women in sport. Despite the focus on the contribution of female athletes to British sporting success, there are concerns that many young girls are still not actively engaging in sport. As role models for the younger generation, this is something female athletes can help to change. One such role model is Joanne Jackson, British swimmer:

“I was born in North Yorkshire and attended Richmond Secondary School. As a young girl, I loved to swim and wanted to follow in my sister’s footsteps, Nicola and become an Olympic swimmer. I believe in the importance of commitment, hard work and determination. This is what enabled me to achieve my dreams, and that is why I like to share my story with young people – which is what I will be doing on ‘Live Sport Talks’ on the 22nd September at the Globe Academy in London.

I have had lots of success on the international stage throughout my career, winning silver, bronze and gold medals for my performances in major competitions including the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships. One of my greatest achievements came in 2008 when I won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing, going on to break two world records in the 400m freestyle the following year. I was only 17 when I first went to the Olympics.

I was forced to retire from the sport after the 2012 Olympic Games because of injury but I have since gone on to set up my own swimming academy and am also an athlete mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes trust and the Youth Sport Trust. It gives me great satisfaction to inspire other young people to aim high and achieve their hopes and aspirations.”

‘Inspiring Women in Business & Enterprise’ at London Stock Exchange


Today 125 state school girls had the opportunity to participate in a ‘career speed networking’ event with high profile women in business and enterprise at London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) and had the rare opportunity to participate in the iconic market opening.

The UK boasts some fantastic female business leaders and entrepreneurs and the gap between the number of men and women is closing. However, the achievements of women in business is not always sufficiently acknowledged and celebrated. Research also shows that young women at school have little idea about the career options open to them and what the huge array of job titles and roles really entail and how to get these jobs.

The event hosted by Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group and Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West CBE, Trustee and Ambassador of the Inspiring Women Campaign brought together state school girls from Kent, London, Essex and Hertfordshire and high profile women working in UK Business and Enterprise.

Financial News’ sixth Women in Finance Survey found that when asked ‘What impact your gender had on your chances of a successful career?’ 50% of respondents said ‘a slight hindrance’, 14% said ‘a strong hindrance’ and only 1.4% said that it had been ‘very beneficial’. The consensus is that the best remedy is to get more women into the sector, and importantly rising up the ranks, thereby becoming role models to younger generations.

Manifesto for Girls’ Rights Launches in Wales


Kayla is thirteen years old. She attends a local comprehensive school in a small community in a South Wales valley. She’s considering a career as a hairdresser, or maybe a pop star. She’s an average girl, from an average place. Does she have a voice?
Girls like Kayla have inspired me for many years to do more to support young women in Wales, and further afield across the UK. Often going unheard and their needs unrecognised, too many young women are not given the opportunities they need to grow into confident, resilient, well-equipped women. Indeed, we often wait until girls become women to tell them they can be leaders, higher-wage earners, community activists and ‘have it all’.

For me this work is a personal mission. After working for the Girl Scouts of America in the USA, and subsequently becoming an ambassador for US-organisation Girl Rising, I knew I had to do more for girls closer to home. Very few girl-focused organisations and initiatives exist in Wales, and yet the problems facing young women are rising: more girls in Wales are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) than boys, which present longer-term problems too, as girls become locked into cycles of early parenthood and poverty.

Raising awareness of girls’ rights and needs is key, and so my organisation Full Circle Education, a Cardiff-based social enterprise, launched a Girls’ Rights Manifesto at our ‘Keeping It Equal’ event last month with 500 young women in attendance from across South Wales and the West of England.

The manifesto is a declaration of what we want to achieve for girls in Wales, and is a step towards my goal of growing the services for girls in Wales and raising awareness of the barriers that still exist for young women in one of the richest nations on the planet.

You could be forgiven for thinking that we don’t need to really talk about girls’ rights in the UK, after all, our girls can go to school, can access healthcare, can go on to university, and make choices about their lives, unlike the 62 million girls around the world who don’t even receive an education.

But at the same time, the UK has the highest teenage birth and abortion rates in Western Europe, and only 6% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female. Almost a third of girls experience unwanted sexual touching in UK schools, and 1 in 3 teenage girls report having experienced sexual violence from a boyfriend.

At Full Circle we want to shout about these challenges, and encourage others to do the same. We’ll be asking organisations to support our manifesto, and taking it to the Welsh Government to ask ministers to pledge their support.

Our manifesto says that girls should have:
• A better education
• A voice
• A safe community
• A fulfilling future
• Freedom of choice

We want every young person to have access to equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender, to ensure the UK is a prosperous and fair nation. To learn more about the manifesto or to pledge your support please get in touch with Full Circle.

Nikki Giant is the founder of Full Circle Education and ambassador for US organisation Girl Rising.

Connect with her on LinkedIn at