The Girls’ Network, Charity, Empowering girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to shape their future

The Girls’ Network is a innovative and creative charity, aimed at arming young girls from the country’s most disadvantaged backgrounds with the confidence and knowledge to access the best opportunities and inspire unlimited futures.

The Girls’ Network was founded last year in London by Charly Young and Becca Dean, while they were participants on the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. Inspired by their time in the classroom, and motivated by the hundreds of girls they had taught, they piloted the concept of The Girls’ Network in their own schools. The response from the students and the women involved was overwhelming. Charly and Becca wanted to ensure that even more girls had the opportunity to be inspired and motivated by amazing women, surviving and thriving in the world of work.  So they developed the idea into The Girls’ Network, which launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2013.

The Girls’ Network will open up a world of possibility to girls from the least advantaged backgrounds, empowering them to shape their futures. And this is how:

  • We will offer girls mentorship from inspirational and motivated women across a range of professions and from a wide range of backgrounds, with the aim of developing confidence in the girls and inspiring them to create amazing futures.
  • We will open up meaningful work experience across a range of industries, especially those with a low percentage of women in senior positions, to provide training and skills development and an on-going relationship with these girls.
  • We will work with schools – teachers and students – to ensure the classroom and the corridors and the playground are all places where girls are supported to thrive. Not at the expense of boys, but in partnership with boys, with the support and encouragement all of their peers and their teachers.

Girls are not only overlooked as a priority in schools but also face a disadvantage as they grow up, in finding equality of opportunity, pay and treatment across most professions.

Across many of the families that we work with, for both financial and cultural reasons, the women do not work. As a choice, this is a perfectly valuable and legitimate one. However, for the daughters and nieces of these women, who know no different – and who have no access to working women – it stops being a choice. We want to open up the same opportunities and choices afforded to girls from more affluent girls. To ensure they can access professional careers, not just lower status jobs.

Alongside our work with girls and teachers within schools, we will expand our mentoring programme so that girls from deprived backgrounds are matched with women across a range of professions and vocations, to provide more social capital; to provide support, encouragement and belief; to advise and guide when it comes to difficult decisions, or small everyday choices.

Through our organisation, we want to inspire and empower girls and build a powerful, sustainable network of women who support and empower one another. We want to highlight the importance of mentoring, at whatever stage, and help girls to shape their future.

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