There has undeniably been a lot of progress in the past decades when it comes to women’s rights. However, girls growing up in today’s world are still facing inequality and obstacles that see women’s rights, bodies, careers, and spaces vulnerable not valued. Women still have fewer opportunities and lower pay than their male counterparts. It is why we wanted to offer empowering messages for young girls. Our future leaders, pioneers, entrepreneurs, businesswomen, adventurers, athletes, creatives. Young girls with big dreams.
It is a shame that we still need to acknowledge these challenges for women, and for women of colour, for women with disabilities, the challenges are even greater. People are less afraid to speak out about equality issues. We have had global movements such as MeToo. In the UK there have been recent protests about the gender pay gap, flexible working, and childcare costs. That these protests are necessary, reflects that there is still a long way to go to reach parity for women in the workplace and the world as a whole.
Why more needs to be done
In 2023, it still remains that the gender pay gap (the difference between average hourly earnings of men and women) exists. Latest figures from the ONS show the gap has been declining overall in the last 25 years. However, it actually widened in 2021 from 12 to 14.4%, which many are putting down to the spiralling cost of early years education. This is putting off many parents, particularly mothers, from returning to work. It is known as the motherhood penalty, the loss of earnings experienced by women who take time out to raise children. Women are being priced out of work due to unaffordable childcare.
The Women In Work report by PwC also discovered that at current rates, it will take 50 years for the gender pay gap to close. This means an 18 year-old woman entering the workforce today will not see pay parity in her working life.
The gender pay gap for part time workers has continued to increase since 2015.
Another study by Simply Business showed less than a third of small businesses are run by women. It also found that over 80% of self-employed women say they’ve experienced sexism, gender inequality or unequal access to opportunities whilst running their businesses. Their ambassador Baroness Karen Brady CBE said: “The level of gender bias and inequality within the small business sector revealed, is quite frankly astonishing. Sexism and bias, whether conscious or unconscious, must be called out for a genuine chance of equality in business. The economy needs the support of small businesses in the UK and we must inspire women to get into business, and help abolish the challenges they face daily.”
With this as a backdrop, we can see that young girls are growing up in a world where the odds are still stacked against them, particularly if they decide to become mothers.
Empowering messages for young girls
We asked The Homeworker community for their words of wisdom, encouragement and support for our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, nieces, neighbours and friends. These are empowering messages for young girls on International Women’s Day. Words for our future female workforce who should believe and experience that the world is their oyster.
“Don’t allow other people’s limiting beliefs to affect your own. Understand that those who doubt you or undermine what you do or say are reflecting their own fears ad insecurities. Believe in what you have to offer. It is easy to look around and compare yourself to everyone else so always remember that you are an individual and bring unique perspectives, talents, and experiences to everything you do.
“Also remember that you are a beautiful human and your value is so much more than the job you have or the money you earn. True fulfilment comes from knowing your purpose and adhering to your values. These all may change over time. Don’t be afraid to change, to try a new direction or follow a new dream. Keep that self belief, don’t hide away. Even if society says you should be doing something else, or look like something else, stay true to your values. Look after yourself as you do others. You will never be happy if you are pretending to be a version of you that others dictate.”
– Louise Goss, Founder, The Homeworker
On conforming and fitting in
“Build a life that works for your brain, your skills and your life. Otherwise you’ll spend your life uncomfortably trying to fit in to what society tells you to, rather than flourishing by standing out.”
– Emma Ward, Founder, The Freelance Lifestyle
“Do not allow yourself to be squashed into a box of others’ making. Recognise your talents and nurture them even if it makes others uncomfortable. Be as big as you want to be.”
– Penny Williams, Founder, Blush Beauty and Hair
“Never change yourself to fit in, the important people will love you just as you are. It can be hard when people say they don’t like you. I’ve been there but as you get older you will realise how much of yourself you lose when you try to change yourself for others. Being your own unique self is the best gift you can ever give to yourself.”
– Sarah Banks, Founder, Banks Business Solutions
On having it all
“We can do it all, work, have a family, hobbies, but only if we are prepared to make compromises with our time, our health, our mental well being. So never listen to anyone who says you can’t do it all… You can. But understand that it comes at a cost and only works well if you have a lot of support. Take the help wherever you can! Feminism doesn’t mean battling along on your own to prove a point.”
– Abbi Leibert, Event producer and doula
“You don’t need to get to CEO to succeed. Get a job that pays yet leaves time to be curious.”
– Xanthe Dawson, Red Teal Creative
On valuing your passions, your abilities and your worth
“Today there are more opportunities out there for women to have the life and careers they want, and I want them to know that they can go out there and fulfil their dreams. Far from the simplicity and stereotypes I, and my peers, faced growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, the world is now a smaller place, and the choices are huge and exciting.
“While technology may well bombard us with news and lead to information overwhelm at times, it is also creating more job choices and makes communicating with people across the globe easier than ever.
“What I ask girls and young women to do today is really think about what you would love to do? What would bring you joy, spark your imagination and lead to you to be your best you? Do you have a passion for maths, science or the arts – whatever it is, get researching and look at the best places to study, the apprenticeships that are out there and the courses that can help you make your dreams a reality.
“More than anything else, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. For me that is always the signal I need to ensure not only do I reach my goal but smash it! Go out into the world knowing you have something amazing to offer and remember to never settle for less than you know you are worth.”
– Natalie Trice, Founder, Devon Trice Public Relations
“Don’t let anyone tell you what a woman is or what a woman can be. Never think what you look like matters more than what you can do. Remember that all of us are human beings first.”
– Deidre Miller, Owner, MinorOak Coworking
“Believe in what feels right deep inside. Know you are worth more. Be kind to yourself and others.”
– Natasha Rear, Educator
On embracing the journey
“Do what you enjoy and take it one step at a time. Balance in life is key.”
“You all have your individual talents, don’t compare or contrast. Follow what feels right to you and lights you up, it will lead you in the right direction. Connect with others, lift one another. Enjoy the journey.”
– Louise Webster, Founder, We Are Beyond Global
“Just do it! You’ll regret it if you don’t.”
– Simone Mardell, Freelance social media manager
Have your own empowering message for young girls today? Leave a comment or get in touch on social or email. We always love to hear from you.
About the author
Louise is an award-winning journalist and speaker who focuses on working from home, remote work and wellbeing. She is the founder of The Homeworker, which is dedicated to helping you thrive when you work from home. The Homeworker publishes articles that are designed to keep you healthy, happy, fulfilled, and more productive in work and life.