The first ‘Women in Leadership’ event, hosted last week by West Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed, was a great success in encouraging and inspiring an audience of local young women.
The day, which was held at the Whitehaven Civil Hall and sponsored by Sellafield and Virgin Trains, was an event of talks, activities and question and answer sessions with inspirational women in leadership roles for the benefit of an audience of 150 local female school pupils.
The audience heard from Jamie Reed in conversation with two nuclear experts; Dame Sue Ion, and Dr Rebecca Weston. They went on to hear from Kathryn Temple, a St Benedict’s School alumnus and founder of the Happiness Foundation who encouraged the audience to “be bold, be fearless, be a lifelong learner”, whilst Cumbria’s Woman of the year 2015, Rachel Holliday, shared her inspirational journey from homelessness to founder of Time to Change West Cumbria.
Moreover, MP for Liverpool Wavertree and former Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger, discussed her journey in politics with the audience of young women, and explained how she has overcome the challenges she has faced as a woman in politics. Meanwhile, local GP and the West Coast’s first Lifeboat Helmsman, Dr Fiona Ironside addressed the audience by explaining that “there are superstars in this room”.
In addition to being given the opportunity to sign up to a mentoring scheme, and to network with local businesses, the local young women also heard from a panel of apprentices from Sellafield, Balfour Beatty and Jacobs. Stall holders who attended the event to support the day and to provide information and advice to attendees included Balfour Beatty, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the University of Cumbria, Lakes College, Sellafield, Gen2, Time to Change West Cumbria, PPM Ltd, UCLan, the LEP and Prospect Union.
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said: “I am delighted that the Women in Leadership event was a success and that it inspired our audience. Every one of our speakers was engaging and inspirational, and they demonstrated clearly that every attendee has the potential to become Cumbria’s inspirational women in leadership of the future.
“I organised the event as part of my work to address the unacceptably wide gender pay gap of 28% in Copeland. Women continue to be underrepresented in business, politics, academia and more and I encourage anyone and everyone to play their part in challenging and addressing this issue.
“The most important message that I hope the audience will have taken away from the day is that each and every one of them is incredible, just like the women they heard from. Whether they know it or not, they each have a talent, something that makes them unique and brilliant. I encourage all of them to reach for the stars.
“I pledge to continue working to make a difference by supporting local young women to achieve their dreams and potential.”