As an ambassador, I want to help other girls break the bias On Thursday 10th March Tamara, an ambassador at The Girls’ Network, spoke at a special event hosted by Women in Social Housing. The event was a celebration of International Women’s Day and there, Tamara spoke about how, as a young woman, she breaks the bias. Her words inspired every single person in that room and continue to inspire us now. Here, Tamara talks about her resilience, her determination, and why she wants to help other young women find, and have the confidence to pursue, their dream – whatever that might be. ......................................... My name is Tamara and I'm 16 years old. At the age of 11 I made the decision to start playing football, and I broke the bias by joining a boy’s football team. At football I quite often overhear the word ‘lads’; it's something that I should be bothered about but after hearing it for so long I just look at my coach, laugh, and say, ‘I've been forgotten about again’. This then spurs the response of, ‘and Tamara!’. It happens less now, but we all need to work together to remove stereotypes. I consider myself a tomboy, because that is what everyone has called me for years. But I will always just be me. I am proud that I am unique, I am proud that I am my own person and always will be, that will never change. I think other people would be proud of me for being unique too, if stereotypes change, and we as humans all work together to break the bias. Why should we all be treated differently? At the beginning of year 10, I came across The Girls' Network when they visited my school. I decided that it was an opportunity that I couldn't miss, so I filled in the application form. After I joined The Girls' Network my confidence grew massively. I went from a child who was afraid to talk to other people, to coaching the under-7 boys' team at my local football club. I've wanted to do this for years but never had the confidence; The Girls' Network has given me the opportunity to do it. My mentor, Zoe, gave me the opportunity to speak to someone in the career path I’m interested in, and this inspired me to work harder to get there. Every day I feel one tiny step closer to reaching my dream job, and my little goals in between. Since joining The Girls’ Network I’ve been able to meet a sports physiotherapist at Northumbria University who gave me insight into how to get into this role and what it’s like. I have had my heart set on this path since I was eight years old, and have put my everything towards it since then; in school my GCSE options are focused on this, and I have just been accepted onto a college course that will take me one step closer to getting there. The college I’m going to accepts both male and female students, but I will be the first woman to enrol. This brought back memories of when I first joined my football team five years ago; I was the only girl there but now these boys are like my family. This is something I am hoping to see happen at college too. In the future I would like to become more confident, and I hope to go to university to become a physiotherapist, but if I can get a physiotherapy apprenticeship this would be my preferred option as I like to be hands on. Sport is where I am most confident but due to having hypermobility, I have been told that I will never be able to play football to a high level standard, as I am too fragile (in the words of not only my mam but also my doctor). It took me a while to come to terms with this, but after a few months of thinking about it and how I could stay within sport for a job I came across physiotherapy and since that day I've never stopped trying to get there. My mentoring journey at The Girls’ Network has come to an end, but I’m now part of their Ambassador Community and, as an ambassador, I want to help other girls break the bias. I hope to be able to help others to find something they are as passionate about as I am sport, and help them achieve their goals within that passion.