‘We want women in policing’ - special visitors inspire pupils for empowerment day
PUBLISHED: 15:02 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:15 06 March 2020
Police officers took part in a Norfolk school’s women’s empowerment day to inspire girls and raise their aspirations for the future.
A day of workshops was held at Downham Market Academy (DMA) to inspire the next generation of young women ahead of International Women's Day on Sunday, March 8.
Sessions discussed the subjects of body confidence, healthy relationships and consent, confidence and resilience and future careers.
Representatives from Norfolk Constabulary, Arbonne UK, NHS and teachers delivered workshops to year 10 girls at the academy.
Female police officers and staff encouraged pupils to consider a career in policing and spoke to them about the importance of perseverance, giving them first-hand insight into their roles.
Dawn Clarke, who organised the workshop, works at the forces forum - which is a staff support group aimed at addressing and promoting issues that affect under-represented groups.
Mrs Clarke said: "It is still hard for women to get into the force and we want to improve women getting into policing.
"We want to encourage girls that the force is not just for men and we're looking to inspire women to look at roles that may be seen as particularly male dominated."
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Rose Cornelius, assistant headteacher at DMA, said it was important to show girls what they can achieve.
She said: "I think our young girls lack confidence and direction and our job is to give them that as much as possible and introduce them to people they may not come across."
Other speakers included Sally Hammerton, who works in the armed policing and dog section for Norfolk and Suffolk Police.
Mrs Hammerton joined the force in 2009 and said over the years it has changed for the better, with there being an increase in female dog handlers.
She said: "For me what I want to do is let girls know they can do anything.
"We're seeing a change in people's perceptions, but there is still a way to go.
"There have been barriers and it is difficult, but attitudes are so different now compared to what they were 20 years ago.
"Hopefully we can inspire young women to think wider and not to limit themselves."
Norfolk constabulary also delivered workshops to girls in year 10 at City Academy in Norwich and Omiston Venture Academy in Gorleston.