A book featuring 60 inspirational women aims to embolden a new generation of girls

Lucy Purdy

Why do girls struggle to name female role models beyond fashion or social media celebrities? A book that showcases 60 inspiring women is being donated to 18,000 schools in a bid to challenge this

Featuring interviews with a diverse selection of talented women, free copies of The Female Lead will be sent to 18,000 schools in the UK and the US. Those behind the project aim to create a broader spectrum of female role models for both girls and boys.

The book includes interviews with politicians, artists, teachers, sportswomen, engineers and journalists. They include pioneering firefighter Brenda Berkman, world champion rock climber Ashima Shiraishi, ballerina Michaela DePrince, and Scottish National Party politician Mhairi Black. When she was 20, Black went from working in a fish and chip shop to becoming the youngest MP to be elected in Britain since 1667.

The sheer breadth and diversity of personal stories showcased in the book demonstrates that ambition looks and feels different for different people

The book’s creator, Edwina Dunn, wants to foster ambition and self-belief in young women. “The sheer breadth and diversity of personal stories showcased in the book demonstrates that ambition looks and feels different for different people,” she says.

The book is accompanied by teaching resources that were created in conjunction with The Mulberry School. The comprehensive, in Tower Hamlets, London, is among the UK’s top performing non-selection schools.

The Female Lead by Edwina Dunn with photography by Brigitte Lacombe is published by Ebury Press in hardback, £30.

The Female Lead interviews were conducted by Marian Lacombe, Rosanna Greenstreet, Geraldine Bedell, Hester Lacey

To watch The Female Lead documentaries or nominate a UK school to receive a free copy of the book and teaching materials, visit www.thefemalelead.com


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