Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'There Is an Issue of Self-Confidence in Women and Girls'

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'There Is an Issue of Self-Confidence in Women and Girls'

Article excerpt

But Miriam González Durántez says boys lack assurance too

Successful female role models should visit schools to boost girls' self-confidence and aspirations, according to leading lawyer Miriam González Durántez.

But the wife of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has called for more male teachers to work in primary schools to fire up boys' ambitions as well.

Ms González Durántez is one of 15,000 volunteers to sign up for Inspiring Women, a campaign to match professional women with local schools to improve female students' understanding of the world of work and encourage them to pursue ambitious careers.

Many women of all ages continued to suffer from a lack of confidence, she told TES. "I've spent 18 months now crossing the country, talking to girls [in schools]. There is an issue of self-confidence for women. It even comes with our volunteers - very often you will have fantastic women and they say: 'Do you think the girls will want to hear from me?'

"We say: 'What are you talking about? You're amazing, why wouldn't they want to hear from you?' There is an issue of self-confidence that applies in particular to women and girls still. But I think that the issue is across genders and I'm finding more and more young men approach me now and say: 'That thing you say about the [lack of] self-confidence, I have it as well.' "

The predominance of female teachers in the primary sector - just 14 per cent of primary teachers are male, according to figures published by the Department for Education last year - was also an issue that needed to be addressed, Ms González Durántez added.

"If you look at teachers, I think we have a wider gender issue," she said. "At my children's primary school, for example, it's all women. I know there's an issue in primary schools as to whether the boys have role models they can relate to.

"So if you talk to me about the ideal scenario, it will be that everything is much more balanced because that's how society is. …

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