The Bank of England opened its doors yesterday to 120 young women between the ages of 14-17 yesterday in an effort to inspire and encourage girls to consider a career in the financial sector.
Events like yesterday’s ‘career speed networking event’- part of the Inspiring Women Campaign-which London based school girls attended, help to breakdown the glass ceiling at a crucial point in their lives i.e. even before their careers have begun.
It is well known that girls and boys perform just as well in the early part of their careers but something happens after this and the likely reason is that for many women who have had flourishing careers to this point hit a glass ceiling, often following child birth or the presumption that they will take maternity leave at some point in the near future.
Introducing girls to inspiring women who pursue a wide range of careers, many of whom volunteered and attended yesterday’s event, shows that many talented women already have had interesting careers in the financial sector.
I hope events like these show that industries such as the financial sector are not the preserve of men, but are industries where everyone can aspire to join the career ladder regardless of gender or anything else.
The Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) published some startling figures earlier this year in a report that found 41% of British girls believe they are not good at maths; this compares with just 24% of boys. This crisis of confidence at this stage can drag girls overall performance down and stunts their career choices- something highlighted in the OECD report from earlier this year.
I believe tackling issues like gender disparity in the financial sector must start at school. We must give young women and girls the confidence to pursue subjects like maths, for example and encourage them to believe they can pursue careers in industries like the financial sector.
The Inspiring Women campaign is an excellent way to breakdown the glass ceiling and to encourage girls to consider careers they may well have discounted previously.