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Let's empower young girls

UPLIFTING: The Womanhood Academy

THE LAUNCH of the new Womanhood Academy is something that the black community should embrace and celebrate.

There is a good reason why it has often been said that when we empower and nurture young girls and women the whole of a community benefits.

And that’s because young women not only lead their communities, they play a key role in highlighting issues that have an impact on their families such as education and healthcare.

Because of the success of partner organisation The Manhood Academy in working with young boys and guiding them from boyhood to manhood, the focus on young girls in our community is so welcome.

Black women in Britain have overcome formidable barriers of discrimination and prejudice to become a visible and important presence in areas such as politics, business, the arts and sport.

It is not only a man’s world anymore. Hence it is important for our community’s girls to not just realise that they can achieve whatever they want with their lives, but also to believe in their dreams. And key to this is encouragement. We should all be encouraging our young girls to think big and achieve whatever goals they set for themselves. As the team behind Womanhood Academy believe, they have a bright future.

However this future is only achievable if the ‘double whammy’ of gender discrimination and racial bias is challenged.

According to a 2012 report by a group of MPs black and minority ethnic women face “catastrophic” levels of unemployment and are discriminated against at “every stage” of the recruitment process.

Discrimination in the workplace against black and ethnic minority women can be subtle or it can be explicit, either way we know for a fact it exists and it affects the opportunities those women get and the power they hold in society.

That is a very worrying picture but not one that we should allow to be overwhelming. Empowering our young women to rise above this starts with collective community focused action.

And here is where the Womanhood Academy has made such a great start.

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