How is NPW different from other groups that promote gender equality?
I think what’s really good is that Northern Power Women are at all different levels on their career path – but we’re all equal in this setting – so it doesn’t matter who’s a CEO in this building.
It’s very important for young women like me to have strong role models that I can identify with. We can’t be what we can’t see. I managed to find something and wake up one day and do it, but I wouldn’t have built it and carried on building it without people like Simone and a really brilliant set of role models who are strong powerful women.
None of us will take no for an answer and that’s why we will empower change and we will bring about gender balance, because there’s no stopping any one of these women.
As a mother of two daughters I want to raise ambitions from the beginning. I don’t want girls to realise when they’re in their thirties: “Right. I can do this!” I want my baby girls to have those aspirations now – my eight-year-old is going to run everything! And I want every girl to feel the same.
How do you accelerate gender diversity in your everyday practice?
I work in the third sector and it was very older-male dominated, all the trustees, all the boards, they’d been in it for years and knew exactly what they were doing.
I’ve seen a big change recently – and in myself as well – that I’m speaking with conviction and being listened to. I’ve been really lucky to go to Parliament a few times now. The first time, I sat in the corner terrified. The next time I thought, ‘I don’t care if you’re all old men, I will talk to you and I will tell exactly what needs to be done.’
If we’re going to make change happen it’s from campaigns like NPW, and communities getting a voice. So if I can be that tiny voice I will be and I’ll make it loud as well.
It’s also about listening. Events like this and community chats where everyone’s opinion is listened to and given a voice.
by Carolyn Howgego
Carolyn Howgego is a PR consultant, media relations specialist and content creator powered by Northern Power Women.
Ema Wilkes won a Person With Purpose award at the NPW Awards in 2017
Read more about Ema here
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