A ROOM full of schoolgirls were left feeling empowered and motivated after attending the second annual Women’s Conference, set up especially to inspire them to achieve great things.
Year 9 and Year 11 pupils from Hayling College visited the Langstone Hotel to hear tips, advice and the life stories of well-respected women.
Speakers included Lulu Whitmore, director of events firm Love Southsea, and Kelly Haynes, English and World Martial Arts Champion.
The school’s deputy headteacher Heather Hedley said the point of the event was to help the girls understand more about leaving childhood and becoming a woman.
She said: ‘It’s scary and daunting, but we want to make the girls think about opportunities and to have high aspirations, and know that it’s possible for a woman to do anything.
‘All the speakers are people who have created their own destiny and have worked towards a goal.
‘We want to help our students find resilience and move forward.
‘We held this event last year and the difference staff saw in the girls afterwards was incredible, they jumped ahead and rose up.’
The young women listened to the speakers talk about different levels of higher education, how to respond to life challenges, and how to create their own brands
Jess Knight, in Year 11, found Reverend Hayley Young of Panshanger Church’s speech inspiring. She said: ‘She talked about being true to yourself and not letting others define you. That was really inspiring because when she told her story it showed you shouldn’t let other people have an effect on what you do and how you see yourself.
Chloe Tame, in Year 9, said: ‘I particularly liked Lulu’s talk because she spoke about equality and the gender pay gap and how she negotiated her wages at one point.
‘We learned you can work your way up even if you don’t have the best background.
Lulu Whitmore, who founded the Victorious Vintage festival, said: ‘I wanted to talk to the girls about self worth and the fact the gender pay gap shouldn’t be an issue.
‘You need to have a plan in life and you need to know where you want to be.’