Girls’ chance to shine

Students at St Benet Biscops in Bedlington talking to women in business as part of the Emily Inspires programme.  Capt Rachael Davies from the Royal Engineers.  GM016277
Students at St Benet Biscops in Bedlington talking to women in business as part of the Emily Inspires programme. Capt Rachael Davies from the Royal Engineers. GM016277

STUDENTS have taken the chance to interview successful women from Northumberland as part of the Emily Inspires programme.

An Aspiration and Enterprise event was held at St Benet Biscop’s High School in Bedlington, using the legacy of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison to raise awareness of how women’s choices have changed.

About 60 sixth form girls were introduced to Emily’s story, before being split into small groups to spend eight minutes questioning women who work in business or community roles about their background, challenges, support, inspiration and any advice they would give.

Women taking part included soldier Rachael Davies, speech and language therapist Annabel Littlewood, Emily Inspires Director Penni Blythe-Jones, scriptwriter Risaria Langley, project manager Alison Bell, bunting entrepreneur Emma Scott, learning and development executive Vicky Wood, chocolatier Krystyna Dodds, style coach Nicola English and speech, drama and dance teacher Lauren Caisley, who is a relative of Emily Davison.

After the session, the students were asked to consider how the event had inspired them and would affect their future choices.

Teacher Louise Maughan said: “We thought the event was really successful. For all of the students, but particularly those who hadn’t decided their future paths, whether they were going to university or doing apprenticeships for example, it was challenging and really made them think about their options.

“One of the students came to me a few days later and said she had decided to go to drama school. I asked her where the idea came from and she said she was really inspired by the women and enterprise event and the message was very clear that you should do what you enjoy and everything will fall into place.”

The initiative was organised by the school in partnership with the Emily Inspires team, which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Emily Davison.

The school now hopes to make the event an annual fixture, held around the same time as International Women’s Day.