Norwich school set to host female-led summit at Chelsea Football Club

Kirsty von Malaise (left), headmistress at Norwich High School for Girls, with students from the ste

Kirsty von Malaise (left), headmistress at Norwich High School for Girls, with students from the steering committee for the Inspiring Females 2019 summit at Chelsea Football Club, which the school is organising. Picture: Bethany Whymark - Credit: Archant

Parents in Norfolk are becoming 'more open' to wider career possibilities for their daughters, a headteacher has said ahead of her school's fourth annual conference celebrating female achievement.

Norwich High School for Girls is deep into preparations for the Inspiring Females 2019 summit, set to be held at Chelsea Football Club on Friday, June 21.

First held in 2016 at the school off Newmarket Road, the summit is designed to educate girls about career opportunities and provide a chance to hear from and network with women in business.

Following two further events at Open in Norwich the school has this year relocated the summit to west London. It will be the biggest yet with 600 girls expected to attend – around three quarters from schools in the Girls' Day Schools Trust and the rest from nearby state schools.

Kirsty von Malaise, headmistress at Norwich High School for Girls, said Inspiring Females started with the goal of connecting girls with career opportunities and has always been shaped by students.

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Events for mothers and daughters – and this year dads and daughters – have been added as well the popular Future You speed networking events, a STEM careers event at the John Innes Centre and a 'takeover' day for students at Aviva in Norwich.

The theme of this year's summit is 'game changers' with around 30 confirmed female speakers so far including an Olympian, a physicist and Sandhurst's first female company sergeant major as well as senior staff from Oxfam, Which? and games company EA Sports.

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Ms von Malaise said: 'With Chelsea you have the frisson that football is very male-dominated but they have a very good female team, and the more we thought about it the more we liked the tie-ins with sport.

'One of our aims for this summit is to help to change the conversation about Norfolk and show all the great things that come out of Norfolk.'

Ms von Malaise said she felt parents were becoming more open to and aware of the breadth of opportunities available to young women.

'They are much more open to things like entrepreneurship and less wedded to the idea that university is the only option. Given that there are a lot of other totally valid routes to go down parents are more open to them,' she said.

Why is Inspiring Females important?

We asked Norwich High School for Girls students on the steering committee for Inspiring Females 2019 to tell us what they wanted to learn and take away from the summit:

• 'Learning resilience and being adaptable.'

• 'Career advice to do with my chosen career path.'

• 'There are so many different careers you can go into, you need not limit yourself to just one thing.'

• 'How to believe in yourself and how to put yourself forward for something you feel is a bit of a risk.'

• 'Learning what it is like working in the world outside.'

• 'Gives you a wider awareness and knowing who to contact.'

• 'How to make your goals and dreams a reality and how to work towards them.'

• 'The gaining and sustaining of contacts – I got work experience through IF last year which was really helpful.'

• 'What it is like being a minority in a certain field and the best way to overcome that.'

• 'Exploring different career options – there is an option to see careers that didn't occur to you.'

• 'Finding out the journeys that people have taken – the first step is always the hardest so how they took that first step.'

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