Today, everywoman launches Modern Muse, a major initiative designed to inspire and engage the next generation of female business leaders and entrepreneurs by showcasing successful women of today in all walks of business life.
Karen Gill, MBE, Co-founder of everywoman said, “The UK is suffering from a female ‘role model’ shortage, yet there are thousands of wonderful women in differing roles and industries, from diverse backgrounds and education who can demonstrate the range of exciting career options that many girls don’t even hear about. Younger women today tend to have a strong focus on celebrity role models and we want them to be exposed to a much broader canvas, to women who have built businesses or are working in major organisations, whose lives are equally glamorous in very many ways. Britain is a great place to nurture talent and showcase diversity. Now is the time to put out a powerful call to action that will create the momentum to make a real and sustainable difference to young females in the UK.”
The UK Graduate Careers Survey (April 2009) reveals a 15 year low amongst university leavers. Just 36% of those finishing undergraduate degrees last summer expected to find full-time employment, and in the 3 months to July 2010 female joblessness rose by 50,000 (The Work Foundation, 15 September 2010 – www.theworkfoundation.com) Anecdotal evidence also shows that the aspirations of young women are heavily influenced by celebrity culture, creating unrealistic expectations that are drastically influencing their lifestyle choices and do not relate to the world of work.
The Modern Muse project is setting out to reach one million young women and girls over the next 3 years, to inspire and motivate them to look at business careers and entrepreneurship as a way to achieve their dreams. This project will help this group to aspire to a career in business by communicating stories of real women whose experiences encompass ambition, passion, success and failure; showing that business is fulfilling and can also be fun and rewarding.
Modern Muse is launched with the publication of a book and a photographic exhibition which shines a spotlight on 100 inspirational women who are all vibrant, successful entrepreneurs and business women, personifying the ‘Modern Muse’. Their stories will encourage and inspire young women and girls to follow in their footsteps.
14 patrons include women such as Chrissie Rucker MBE (The White Company), Christina Vaughan (Image Source) Dame Mary Perkins (Specsavers Optical Group) and Judy Craymer (Littlestar Services, producer of Mamma Mia!). The patrons are photographed by Mary McCartney, who was inspired by her mother Linda McCartney, herself a pioneering businesswoman. Mary was so enthused by the patrons during the photo shoot that she commented, "They were all very successful women whose stories couldn't have been more diverse and fascinating. I felt ready for a job in industry myself at the end of the shoot!"
The book also features portraits by upcoming photographer Linda Brownlee of other Muses, including a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, an RAF pilot, a beautician and many more.
The first phase of the project has been funded by these women, all of whom share everywoman’s vision and aspiration. These Muses will undertake practical activity in their own workplace and local community; nurturing existing female talent, taking the Modern Muse story to schools and universities, creating more opportunities for women to start, own, run and grow companies, as well as climb the ladder as corporate employees.
“Modern Muse will demonstrate the power of women coming together to make things happen as we enter a new decade,” Karen Gill continued. “Female entrepreneurs alone account for £70 billion GVA and we know we could increase that by a further £23 billion if the same number of women created their own enterprises as men”.
It is vital that we motivate the next generation to embrace business and carve out fulfilling lives for themselves. We are calling on all women who share our vision to sign up as a Modern Muse at www.modernmuse.co.uk where they too, can get involved in the project.”