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.
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.”