TAMARA SIDDIQUI: A room full of inspiration for young women

Tamara found the event 2WhatWomenDo with the girls in Years 9 and 10 at Hayling College, inspirational
Tamara found the event 2WhatWomenDo with the girls in Years 9 and 10 at Hayling College, inspirational
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Last week I was asked to speak at an event for young ladies called #WhatWomenDo.

I had to address teenage girls at Hayling College who will soon be making important decisions about their futures.

Because I spent so much time worrying about how I’d get my words out, I didn’t take in how much of a privilege it was to be asked to speak to the students.

It made me realise that despite the everyday struggles many of us face, including myself, some of us forget about the good things we’ve done and that, in fact, we are on the right track.

It’s all too easy to give yourself a hard time when things go wrong and you forget about everything you’ve already overcome.

That became clear to me when I had to talk to the Year 9s and 10s about my education and worklife so far, and how I entered journalism.

I didn’t speak alone. I had the pleasure of sharing a stage at The Langstone Hotel with Rachel Speed, a University of Cambridge graduate who was once told she’d never amount to anything, but forged her own brilliant path.

We also heard from the Reverend Hayley Young, formerly of Hayling Island Baptist Church. She told pupils how she refused to wallow in self-pity after contracting HIV, following an assault.

She stood tall and would not be beaten by what she had been through. It would not stop her realising her dreams.

I was so flattered to be thought of as a role model. And I found the other speakers really inspirational too.

It’s no secret I’m all about girl power.

So going to the event and hearing about what other women have been through, even Hayling College’s deputy headteacher, has just made me more determined to do everything I can to succeed.

Tamara, 24, is a journalist at The News. Read her views on life as a young woman in an ever-changing world every week.