Young Women Into Leadership aims to inspire future female leaders

Published: Thursday, 21st July 2022

Birmingham City Council, Aston University and US Embassy in London are once again combining forces to deliver an exciting, week-long leadership summit to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

Eighty girls are enrolled in the online programme for 14 to 16-year-olds, which will take place in the week beginning 25 July, which this year has a truly Commonwealth flavour with Birmingham girls joined by peers from India, South Africa, Barbados and Cyprus as well as from our partner cities – Chicago, Nanjing, Milan and Johannesburg.

The programme promotes diversity and inclusivity – with more than half of the girls participating coming from Birmingham’s most deprived wards. The summit is thematically focused with each day covering a different topic: Women in Politics/Public Services; Business; Sport; Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths; and Media and Culture.

There is a stellar line up of speakers sharing their insight and wisdom with participants, including:

Di Xiao, concert pianist named amongst the 10 most outstanding Chinese concert pianists and champion of female composers

Amanda Reifer – Manager of Sport Promotion at the University of the West Indies

Paulette Hamilton MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington

Dr Helen Pankhurst, Activist and Academic – CARE International, Centenary Action Group and great granddaughter of Emeline Pankhurst leader of the British Suffragette movement

Jayne Torvill – former Olympic ice champion and Dancing on Ice judge

The initiative is being championed by the Deputy Leader of the council, Cllr Brigid Jones and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Maureen Cornish.

The participants will be supported by mentors from Aston University to develop presentations on a given theme which will be made live online to US Embassy staff and senior political representatives from Birmingham at the end of the programme.

The Lord Mayor said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for young women from Birmingham to connect with like-minded young women from across the Commonwealth and beyond. 

“The programme is highly interactive and provides a unique opportunity for young women to speak to female leaders and gain some insider hints and tips on how to achieve success in a broad range of career areas. 

“It is another example of how Birmingham City Council supports its young people to reach their full potential.”

Saskia Hansen, Interim Vice-Chancellor, Aston University, added: "Aston University is delighted to be involved in the You WIL programme to promote female leadership and to provide an opportunity to connect Birmingham and international students from sister cigties and Commonwealth countries through structured virtual presentations, discussions and mentoring activiities.

“Last year’s programme was a tremendous success and I am so pleased that we have been able to attract an outstanding group of local and international 14 to 16-year-old participants, and an amazing suite of speakers, for the 2022 You WIL programme.”

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