News and Analysis | Written by Victoria Redsell, Paraplanner, 19 October 2023

Path’s support for International Day of the Girl at WOW’s speed mentoring event

Path are once again collaborating and supporting the WOW Foundation (Women of the World) as they continue to inspire and empower women across the globe. This month saw the marking of International Day of the Girl with a WOW speed mentoring event in London.

What is International Day of the Girl? The International Day of the Girl is a campaign organised by the United Nations to focus attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. In 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but for the first time girls were recognised as a group facing their own set of issues. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

The campaign is backed by groups around the world including UNICEF, UNESCO, Action Aid, Plan International, the World Wide Girl Guide Association and the Women of the World Foundation (WOW).

For the second year in a row, Path Financial are thrilled to support WOW’s work, sponsoring events and campaigns and raising awareness of the serious financial issues that women face like the pay gap, the pension gap, the sandwich generation gap; the list is long, but more about that another time…

The 11th of October saw some of Path Financials’ female professionals, Rowan Harding, Caz Reid-Watts and Victoria Redsell, travel to London to take part in a speed mentoring event on the London Eye. Kicking off at the crack of dawn at the National Theatre with an inspirational speech from WOW founder, Jude Kelly, and a much needed caffeine boost, before the mentors and the mentees headed off to the London Eye for the mentoring sessions soaring above London’s landmarks. After a couple of turns on the wheel, everyone headed back to the National Theatre to  take part in a panel discussion featuring the Sky at Night’s Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Victoria Redsell from Path commented:

We were delighted to be involved again with this year’s WOW International Day of the Girl event; listening to the challenges and dreams of the next generation and sharing learnings from our own experiences. A famous frog once said it isn’t easy being green, and the same is true for the modern woman – it’s not easy being one! Trying to balance professional and personal fulfilment in whatever form that takes; setting a strong, positive role model of what a woman is, taking care of herself and everyone in her life – it’s a constant battle which often leaves us feeling like we are failing at everything

The mentees who attended the WOW event were from schools and colleges local to London. Aged between 15 and 19, the young women are all in the middle of GCSE and A Level exam courses at the same time as figuring out what the next steps in their educational life journey might look like and beyond. 

Path’s involvement at the WOW International Day of the Girl event not only helped to provide the mentees with a visibility of what they can achieve, along the lines of ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. Helping to guide and provide insight, encouragement and awareness but also amplify the message that the women of the future are supported in achieving their dreams and ensuring the landscape of their ambitions is not limited due to their gender or identity.

Reflecting on the day, Caz Reid-Watts from Path said

Because I’m only a baby feminist, I’m still learning but I’m a woman who is succeeding at life. When I told my best friend about this and said it was for successful businesswomen, she said “that’s you” and it’s the first time I’ve ever considered myself in that way.

To realise how I’ve succeeded in a world which has, for millennia, been viewed through a patriarchal lens, made me want to offer the potential of help to other girls. If just one glimmer of anything I said helps someone in future, then I’m happy, and that can’t happen unless I do events like this.

Throughout the day there were a few times when I saw a smile or a look of understanding cross their faces when they worked something out for themselves, I hope we’ve facilitated not just that moment of clarity but the knowledge of how to achieve that in other situations.

Rowan Harding from Path, who was involved with the WOW Festival and invited along to a Clarence House WOW reception with an amazing group of  women including the now Queen Camila last year, said

The day left me with a greater sense of purpose to make sure this topic of gender equality is talked about, discussed and highlighted. It was a genuine reminder of the fact that this is a generational shift which still needs to happen and that we are all part of it.  The mentees I chatted with were awesome and engaged and really switched on. Very inspiring to see!

The WOW International Day of the Girl in London also saw the launch of several new projects for the WOW Foundation, the bus, the book and the bumpf.

The bus – The WOW Girls Festival Bus is an interactive space created with and for young people, working with Getaway Girls in Leeds and artist/designer Emma Hardaker. Throughout the Bus, visitors can take part in a creative exploration of gender equity, through play, reading, digital experiences and a recording studio. The WOW Bus will host Speed Mentoring, panel talks and discussions, taking workshops and activities to all corners of the UK, reaching young people from all backgrounds in the heart of their own communities. With a focus on girls, but including all young people, activities from the Bus are designed to build resilience, wellbeing and good mental health. Tour stops include Kent, Glasgow, North Wales, Liverpool, Norfolk, Belfast, Bradford and Manchester.

The book – The 2023 WOW Young Leaders Directory. Launched in 2020, the Directory profiles girls and non-binary young people from across the globe, who are demonstrating extraordinary leadership in activism and leading campaigns for change. Leaders in the 2023 Directory range from Pakistani women’s rights and education activist Amna Quddus, and Malaysian student activist Ain Husniza, who has gained recognition for her efforts in promoting gender equality in schools and speaking out against rape culture, to 13-year-old Yeva Skalietska from Ukraine, whose diary You don’t know what war is: the diary of a young girl from Ukraine was published last year and all girls robotics team the Afghan Dreamers.

The bumpf – by which we mean four inspiring Activity Packs  for education providers and community leaders. The packs have been co-designed with and for young people to link to the national curriculum and offer creative activities and thought provoking stimuli to bring the topics of mental health, personal safety, relationships, community and finance to life.

WOW are planning a 2024 May event which will focus on Women & Climate Change so watch this space for further updates.

Path staff at International Day of the Girl speed mentoring event in London with Women of the World Foundation
Path staff at International Day of the Girl speed mentoring event in London with Women of the World Foundation

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