The Female Quotient is set on advancing women to advance equality. One way they are doing this is by connecting women through hosting virtual dinner parties in over 60 countries. Creating opportunities to network and have open conversations, the FQ is unlocking the value of women. At 6:30pm on 10th September the FQ hosted the first of many Next Gen virtual dinners. With a warm welcome from the FQ founder, Shelley Zalis, guests were put at ease as she outlined her own hopes for where this networking event would lead in creating the FQPack Global.
It was wonderful to have over 25 change agents come together to network at the FQ Global Next Gen UK virtual dinner. I was blown away by the confidence, passion and enthusiasm of all the young women. I have smashed the glass ceiling and it’s become a floor for the next generation to walk on. I believe in paying it forward by empowering and lifting the next generation off the sticky floor and tackle the social and economic inequalities facing young women globally. I could see so much synergy between the young women.
By creating this ‘Girls Lounge’ (as opposed to Boys Club) the script was being flipped, reiterating the FQ’s belief that “a woman alone has power; collectively, we have impact”. The importance of feminine powers in leadership was highlighted as well as the importance of caring, sharing and asking for help. Making sure no girls fall through the cracks was high on the agenda as Gen Z will truly be the most resilient generation, having coped with a pandemic at such a crucial time in their lives. The event brought attention to the increasing amounts of purchasing power Gen Z have, giving them a louder voice in public life ensuring they are listened to. Their refusal to perceive things as binary and static is creating a more inclusive world which embodies both the FQ and Northern Power Women’s agenda. There was a real feeling of excitement throughout the dinner and this openness has meant that young women are arguably “the most under-estimated, under-utilised and untapped natural resource we have”.
When I first received my invitation to the FQ Next Gen virtual dinner, my thoughts were all too quickly invaded by those familiar voices asking, ‘Why on earth have I been invited to this?’, ‘I haven’t achieved anything of note’, ‘What am I supposed to say about myself in front of all these future leaders and go-getters?!’. As soon as I logged onto the zoom call, that voice was silenced. Hearing such incredible stories from a diverse range of strong women has made me realise that everyone, regardless of their accolades or status, questions whether they are qualified enough to claim the platforms and power that belongs to them. I’m really excited to strengthen the relationships made at the dinner, an event which has filled me with motivation to work with this empowering group of women to ensure that no one ever gives in to that undermining voice inside their own head.
Guests were lucky enough to here from Lisa Napper, Programme Manager for the FQ Business of Equality, sharing her story of gender based violence and her own experiences of the adultification of young girls of colour. A truly inspiring journey that resonated strongly with all participants in which the impact of speaking your truth was palpable. Following on from this each participant introduced themselves explaining their own reasons for being there and noting when they first knew they were a leader. Each was different, but each was important and very affecting. The evening culminated in an amazing performance by LA based singer-songwriter MILCK who first rose to fame at the 2017 Women’s March for her song Quiet.
I can admit I had some feelings of imposter syndrome before joining the FQ Next Gen dinner but once I heard from all the amazing and inspiring young women I felt completely at ease and realised that it doesn’t matter if I don’t believe anything I have achieved is of note, I still have the power inside me to create real change in the world. I am so excited for the next steps with the FQ and I feel so inspired and empowered to be a part of this incredible network!
From the flood of emails sent later that evening and in the following days, it is clear that this is just the beginning. The FQ Next Gen dinner definitely started a conversation which we want to keep going. The wheels have been set in motion to create the largest ever virtual dinner party with 150,000 women from around the world, and then who knows what we can achieve!
Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together