International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th, which recognised the ambitious women we have studying and working at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
The stories we have collected from these women provide motivation to anyone in need of a final push to reach their goals.
This blog series will feature these incredible role models and hopefully empower more women out there to #PressForProgress in 2018 and beyond!
Here’s Diane’s story:
‘I qualified as a Solicitor in the early 1990s and was one of the first years where over 51% of graduates from Law School were women. However, my early years in practice showed that ratio did not translate to the top of my profession and female leaders were in the minority. But then in the early 1990s female lawyers could not wear trousers in court…it seems a lifetime away.
Lucky to have female mentors and great role models I become a partner myself in 1999. That allowed me to focus on the work I loved: being an advocate for those less fortunate than me at a time of crisis in their lives. Often, I worked with women and often I was asked by my partners to take on a “sensitive case” but learning to be more than just the legal expert helped me become an all-round better person and as a result a better lawyer.
My experiences led to a conversation in January 2014 with Rachel Clacher, the inspirational co-founder of Moneypenny. Wanting to find out what would happen if she offered the type of support she gave her employees to young women who wouldn’t have the confidence to walk up to our office door, she asked would I work with her to find out the answer. Assuming the mantra “say yes to an opportunity and work out how later” I agreed to join her!
Four years on we are now a charity in our right, WeMindTheGap, and have successfully run 6 traineeships designed specifically for those young women. The six month paid traineeship is a unique opportunity to develop skills, enjoy new experiences, broaden horizons, build friendships, grow confidence, discover talents, grow ambition and discover the power of having choices in life and work. Essentially, we fill the gaps in our trainees’ lives with things that most of us take for granted – security, welfare, role models, experiences, skills, confidence and importantly love and care. And it works. Seven out of ten of our graduate trainees move into full-time work or education.
But this is a team effort and we pride ourselves on building a community around our young trainees, with support from local employers, allies and volunteers. And I am very proud of our success.
Now delivering the traineeships outside of Wrexham our vision is a world in which every young woman has the maturity, aspirations, confidence, independence and skills to have real choices in life and work.
That there remains the need for organisations like WeMindTheGap is a timely reminder of why we celebrate International Women’s Day. We have come far but there are still disadvantages purely by virtue of gender. By recognising those struggles we raise awareness and open debate. And for me I can discuss those issues with my sons – who are my greatest personal achievement!
It is a privilege to work with our young women and see them grow, and I get a thrill when I hear of a promotion, of a driving test passed, a first foreign holiday. Gaps are being filled and our graduates have choices.’
If you enjoyed this story, please keep checking in @zoneglyndwr for more in the series!
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