Miriam González Durántez on why all women should be inspiring others @Work

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  • Miriam González Durántez was last year's Marie Claire @Work Live keynote speaker and she was pretty inspiring...

    Miriam González Durántez rounded off Marie Claire’s 2015 @Work Live event with an inspirational campaign to encourage all women to support and inspire each other in the workplace.

    The lawyer, mother and wife of former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is recruiting working women everywhere (shout out to our amazing @Work Live audience) to give 60 minutes of our time each year to visit a school and teach the next generation of girls what career opportunities exist for them.

    ‘I’m a working mum,’ Miriam began. ‘I find this expression odd as my husband is also a father who works, but no one would think to call him a working father. If I am a working mum am I a part time woman?’

    ‘Girls need to learn about careers and all the opportunities available to them – without limits. One of the most common questions they ask is how do you have a career and a family, so at 13 they are already thinking about this and it is limiting them.’

    ‘We also do a project called Inspiring Primaries where we put in front of the younger children a panel of men and women, and we ask them ‘what job do you think these people do?’ And if it’s a blonde woman the answer is always, ‘a secretary, a party organiser or a hairdresser.’

    ‘The sexism has been so drip drip that we don’t even always notice it.’

    ‘I find people say of me, ‘she wears the trousers’ and as you can see, it is true, I have very nice trousers. Or if my husband and I share the school run, it’s me who has forced him, dragged him away from his work. But when people, or in my case the media, are using that label on you, they are not saying you are strong, they are saying you should get back in your box. You should make the dinner and have his slippers ready with a gin and tonic.’

    ‘I’m a feminist because I believe that men and women are equal and we all have the same right to do as we like with our lives.’

    ‘A survey recently found that between the ages of 11 and 21, girls feel that they do not have any access to female role models. 80% say Beyonce is their role model – but not because she’s cool and she dresses well, they say she’s an amazing singer and she works hard. But there are 3.5 billion women in the world and one Beyonce. So I think we have room for a few more role models, don’t you?’

    Looking for more career inspo? It’s not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire’s @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.

    To sign up to the Inspiring Women campaign and become a mentor, visit the Inspiring Women website

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