Claire Harper

International Women's Day 2016 - The Wakefield Girls' High School Leading Ladies Panel Event

8th Mar 2016 • CLAIRE HARPER

The theme for International Women's Day 2016 #IWD2016 is all about pledging for parity.

Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement.

And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places.

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.

Everyone - men and women - can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly - whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

Today I was personally invited to join an inspirational panel of very successful Yorkshire women at Wakefield Girls' High School. The girls from year 7 to 11 had been personally selected by the Head to attend this positive event celebrating International Women's Day.

We all spoke passionately with the girls to encourage, support and offer our experience and advice. The girls were super bright and confident and asked brilliant questions and the women on the panel were engaging and extremely motivational. These girls are the future generation of talent and no barriers should be in their way to achieve their career goals.

In summary, a very positive day with great energy and enthusiasm. I'm confident with mentoring, encouragement and support these girls can achieve gender-balanced leadership, respect and accelerate gender parity.

Many thanks to Claire Young and Head of Wakefield Girls' High School, Nina Gunson for organising this event and to all of the inspirational women on the panel, Caroline Atkinson, Linsey Birkett, Gail Glover, Stephanie Hirst, Helen Knowles, Gill Laidler, Helen Massey, Joanne Roney, Charlotte Sweeney and Katie Town.

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© 2022 Claire Harper