Speech given at the launch of Women’s History Month, Thursday 20th January. This speech was written with Lindsey Hills and Samantha Morgan.
Hi my name is Kealy and I am a member of the steering group and mums group at Platform 51 London West. It’s an organization that supports girls and women to challenge discrimination and have a voice and overcome difficult situations in our lives. We are here today to talk to you about role models and the lack of them and why we think women’s history month is such a good idea.
When one of our group, Sam, got a job in the city she was told the reason she was picked was because she was young, pretty and blond. When she got pregnant she was made redundant-it was obvious to her why this had happened, in fact staff had been quite open about it, however at the time she didn’t want to rock the boat and didn’t feel confident enough to challenge her employer.
This is just one example, but there are so many messages out in the world that tell us that we should aspire to be beautiful and skinny -this is what is expected from us – this will make us worth something in our society today.
There are so many images in the media telling us about who we should be-what we should wear, how skinny we should be, what we should eat and what make up we should wear. Most of the images we see are air brushed and aren’t even real, but still we are told it is good to be like these celebrities we see, like Cheryl Cole or Jordan.
We thought there must be better role models out there!
We tried to think of different role models in our group and we managed to come up with 3 1/2- Oprah, Beyonce and Kelly Homes. The half is Jade Goody because we admire her for her work as cancer ambassador, but not the rest of her career. We admire these women because they are successful, determined, hard workers and they had a dream and made it happen, despite the criticism they have faced. But we were shocked that we couldn’t think of any more.
So we thought about who inspired us in our life-who did we look up to? We realized it was often people close to us and involved in our lives such as our mum, a cousin, or our old Chief Executive. They inspired us because they were strong, understanding, independent, supportive and were successful in their jobs. These are things we also want to be, for ourselves, but also four our children and others.
This is why women’s history month is so important. There are not enough positive role models for girls to look up to. We need to celebrate successful women more, especially those who are not just famous for their dress, looks and figure! We also need to celebrate successful women who might not be famous or known around the country but that have made a real difference in their neighborhood- these are the real women that inspire and we can look up to.
Thanks for listening.
Kealy Hastick is a 21 year old mother of two children. She has been invovled in Platform 51 since 2008 through the mums group and the steering group. She is particularly interested in journalism or production, and went to the Liberal Democrat Party Conference last year as Platform 51 young reporter. Lindsey Hills is 25 years old and lives in West London with her 7-year old son and 4-year old daughter. Lindsey gave a speech at last years Feminism in London conference about her experience of being a single mother. Samantha Morgan has been involved in Platform 51 through the mums group at the West London centre and more recently through the centre steering group. She is 26 years old and a mum of two children. Sam has a keen interest in the catering and hospitality industry and is looking to return to work or training as an events organiser/coordinator.