Strong role models for girls are vital says Sarah Brown at Women of the World festival
Sarah Brown was part of a star line-up at the first event of London’s Women of The World festival.
The panel discussion about Women and Power saw Sarah join Dame Shirley Williams, Guardian journalist Kira Cochrane, Women’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey and scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. The women came together to debate whether feminism is in and if it has changed women’s relationship to power.
Education for girls came up quickly as the panel all agreed that having strong role models for girls when they are young is vital if they are to be successful. Sarah said: “Role models are hugely important.
“When you see that there are women who have trod that path before, it makes it easier for you to stand up and find your own voice.
Dr Maggie agreed with the importance of having visible role models for girls. “We talk about setting a secondary school curriculum that is going to help girls and I say that is too late – we need to be encouraging them at nursery’ she said. “Marie Curie is one of very few people who has won two Nobel prizes and you don’t see that in school, there are no female role models.”
Sarah also spoke about how technology is enabling women to start their own movements and connect with each other in a way we haven’t seen before. “Grass roots power is what will change things for women. What really opens things up is the digital world, which can be harnessed in so many different ways,” she explained.
The festival is in its fourth year and the women spoke in front of a lively 100 strong audience in the Queen Elizabeth Hall of the Southbank Centre. The discussion was chaired by WOW founder and Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly and the event will continue over three days featuring workshops, speeches, interviews and discussions.