In honour of International Women’s Day 2023, thirty girls and young women from our mentee and ambassador community were invited by Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport to a special ‘speed networking’ event at 10 Downing Street. Girls got to meet esteemed women from the worlds of business, sport, education, technology, media, publishing and the creative arts.

The state room was a-buzz with conversations as the girls and young women aged 14-21 years-old, quizzed the inspiring professional women about how they achieved their ambitions, gained advice about careers, as well as sharing experiences of schooling and their own lives.

Those who took part included - Natalie Campbell, MBE, Co-CEO of Belu Water & Chancellor of the University of Westminster; Anuska Asthana, ITV’s Deputy Political Editor; record breaking Team GB Weightlifter, Zoe Smith; interior designer & entrepreneur Kelly Hoppen CBE; Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, visiting professor, author & CEO of Stemettes; award-winning designer Anabela Chan; celebrated author Tola Okogwu; YolanDa Brown, Chair of BPI, Saxophonist & Broadcaster; Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Books; Rachel Watkyn, CEO of Tinybox; food writer & founder of Deliciously Ella, Ella Mills; June Angelides MBE, CEO & founder of Mums in Tech; Tammany Einav, CEO of global advertising agency Adam&EveDDB and Melissa Di Donato, CEO, author and 2021 winner of ‘Woman of the Year in IT’ award;  Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport and Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education.

Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who hosted the event and took part in the speed networking session said:

“The greater recognition we are seeing for the amazing achievements of female athletes, artists and creatives is testament to the hard work going into securing fairer representation for women across society.

“The Girls' Network is doing vital work in this area, and it was fantastic to see first hand how they are inspiring and supporting the next generation of girls to reach their full potential.”

Dhivya O’Connor, interim CEO of The Girls’ Network said: “We were thrilled to be invited to collaborate on this special event at Downing Street, particularly as we are, today, celebrating ten years of having supported thousands of young people to build their unlimited futures. It was an incredible opportunity and experience for the girls and young women who attended, to interact with inspiring and diverse role models, who have all achieved success across many walks of life.”

Ishrat, aged 19 who has been supported by The Girls’ Network said: “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to attend the International Women’s Day event at 10 Downing Street! I really enjoyed connecting with such amazing and inspiring women as I got to learn something valuable from each of them. I’ll be sure to listen to all their advice and words of encouragement when I enter the world of work myself!

Lian Murray, teacher from Hornsey School for Girls said: “This is undoubtedly an unforgettable memory for our students who found the experience to be very informative and were able to speak to such inspiring women.”

Girls from Wembley High Technology College, which was the first school to participate in our mentoring programme back in 2013, also joined us for the event.

We couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate our tenth anniversary!