Being a teenage girl in the world today is a challenge. Attempts to retain an element of individuality are threatened on a daily basis by the media, celebrity culture, premature sexualisation, peer pressure and bullying, lack of positive, strong female role models, privacy invasion and misuse of the internet, ladette behaviour and increase in aggressive behaviour amongst girls, to name a few.
This backdrop is leading to a generation of teenage girls arriving at puberty with a full on identity crisis. Eating disorders, promiscuity and teen pregnancies, body dysmorphia, self-harming, binge-drinking and substance abuse, panic attacks and exam anxiety, are just some of the symptoms apparent in their behaviour.
Not surprisingly we now have a confused generation, disengaging from education and the world around them which leads to low aspirations, poor body image, fickle self esteem and a confused identity.
Girls Out Loud is a UK based social enterprise set up in 2009 by serial entrepreneur and inspirational speaker/coach Jane Kenyon and business woman, Ambassador for enterprise and media personality Claire Young. In 2010 they were joined by Rachel Ward Lilley a teenage champion, communications professional and mountaineer. The team have a mission to raise the aspirations of young girls between the ages of 13-18. The organisation facilitates intervention programmes in schools from one day to 12 months in duration and in 2010 we launched a nationwide mentoring programme for teenage girls called BIG SISTER which involves us recruiting and training role models from a diverse background to mentor teenage girls for a period of 12 months. The emphasis of all our activity is to embed a more empowering mindset in girls, which in turn, reconnects them to education, helps them achieve exam success and broaden their aspirations, encourages them to find their individual voice, take risks, make better life decisions, improve their self image and become role models for future generations.
To empower and inspire teenage girls in the UK and beyond to have confidence, self belief, emotional resilience and a positive self image which, in turn, supports them to think big, embrace risk and reach for the stars.
So far, the girls that have been through our programmes have more clarity on the big picture in terms of their career and place in the world; Recognise the pitfalls of teen pregnancy and no longer see this as a career option; Have higher self esteem and therefore make better choices in relation to their peer group, boyfriend, friends, family and education/career; Achieve better than expected exam results, are goal centric and have a more healthy external body image.
Alongside our work as champions and campaigners for teenage girls and extensive media work at our launch in 2010 our product portfolio concentrates on 4 key programmes:
Watch the video to find out more.
The Big Sister programme has really inspired the 20 girls from BCHS. They always ask if their Big Sister is still coming in, they are really excited about meeting up with them. All the role models are inspirational in their own way, giving the girls from BCHS that big sister relationship that most have them have been missing. The coordination from both Rachel & Wendy is been second to none, and all the Big Sisters always turn up with a beaming smile which is great to see.
Keep up the amazing work!Gary Chinery, Year 10 Head, Blackburn Central High School
Girls Out Loud has captured the hearts and minds of all the girls on the Big Sister programme. Impact on progress and achievement, self esteem and attendance are evident and measurable. A fantastic programme that supports the young girls, helps them understand their potential and begin their journey.Joanne Egerton, Assistant Head Teacher, Albion Academy, Salford
The Big Sister programme has been a fantastic experience for the 19 girls who took part and completed their graduation at Media City, Salford. Throughout the year long initiative the girls gained in confidence, received careers advice and most importantly gained some real friendships with inspiring and successful local women who gave so much time and commitment to the project. It was wonderful to see the girls grow, not just in confidence but in their self belief and aspirations for the future. The project was extremely well run and we would wholeheartedly recommend it to other schools.Julie York, Director of Community Development, Harrop Fold School, Salford
I have just spent a year as a Big Sister and really enjoyed the experience. I have spent an hour a month with a lovely Year 10 girls listening and discussing all sorts of topics. At first she was very shy and didn’t like to put her hand up in class but by the end of the programme it was wonderful to see how far her self-confidence had grown and she had arranged a few meetings with the head teacher to discuss her learning and work experience. I have also met some truly inspirational women on this programme, made some friends and learnt some new things from my Little Sister. It has been a year of personal growth for me too and I have loved it!Gail Hounslea, MD, Wardworth Ltd
Working with GOL is a journey and evokes all your emotional spectra, for the girls and because of the girls. The work teaches you the importance of never giving up, everyone should have the choice to understand their full potential and by recognising this in others you gently tap into your own. It has been my privilege to get to know some amazing young people and inspirational women and in doing so become aware, that by truly listening to their stories, you can help them open up their world.Linda Willows, Head of Legal and Business Management – Brother UK Ltd
The Big Sister programme exceeded all expectations. I’m honoured to have been a part of the project for a year. My little sister taught me so much about her world and taught me so much about myself. Not only did I play a small part in the development of this teenager, she taught me what resilience, honesty and bravery can be. I’m thrilled to say that I have made a friend for a life and that I’m a mentor to a young a girl that I believe in unconditionally.Hattie Pearson XFM Radio DJ, voice over artist, club promoter
I cannot even begin to count the reasons for why being a part of the Big Sister programme has been so beneficial to me since signing up in 2014. Not only have I had the opportunity to meet, network and train with some wonderful women from so many different walks of life, but I have gained the most amazing Little Sister, who has been as much an inspiration to me through her development and achievements as I hope I have been for her. I am delighted to be joining the programme once again in 2015.Jo Watson, Head of Education and Partnerships, Onside Sports Education
Just over a year ago I agreed to become a Big Sister with Girls Out Loud. Part of me was a little apprehensive being the mother of 3 boys, to which I was told : “Yes, but you are a girl!”
It has been an absolute delight getting to know my Little Sister , Sameerah’s personality and watching her confidence blossom over the past year. We have enjoyed sharing experiences, not to mention a few giggles at the personal safety group event! Chatting our way through 6th Form and future career choices. Enjoying the moment when Sameerah walked in after the summer holidays proudly wearing her ‘Lead Pupil’ badge.
None of this would have been a part of my life had I decided not to go ahead and I wouldn’t now be looking forward to being with Sameerah for her Big Sister Graduation in January.Michelle Brown, Home maker, volunteer, fund raiser
We now have a team of awesome women ready to meet their Little Sister at Blessed Edward Jones Catholic School in Rhyl this month. Training took place in Ruthin last weekend and the team include a bank manager, NHS executives, entrepreneurs, public sector professionals, a University lecturer, Communications Officer at Grosvenor Estate, several health […]Read more
This month we delivered our much loved Role Model Relay event at a school in Manchester. The idea is ask 4 inspirational women to share their journey and offer advice to a group of 13/14 year old girls then we invite a further 30 awesome female role models to engage in a speed mentoring session. […]Read more
The girls from Blackburn Central High School were brought by minibus from school to Burnley Youth Theatre, where outreach worker Jay Walton had a great day planned. From the very start Jay built great rapport with the girls with his energy, relaxed style and great sense of humour. An excellent icebreaker game got all the […]Read more
Our core programme is a 12 month mentoring programme for 14 year old girls called BIG SISTER. Here we recruit and train women from all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds to be a mentor to a young girl for a year. We are currently looking for women from all backgrounds to join our […]Read more
We are currently looking for women from all backgrounds to step up and join us at our events – we are especially interested in those working within sectors where women are hard to find! If this sounds like something you would like to do and you are 23+, a successful woman, comfortable in your own […]Read more
Last week the Head Mistress of an independent girls school, Vivienne Durham caused an outcry in female circles by saying girls definitely CANNOT have it all, feminism is over and girls must accept that they cannot have a family AND a career. She went on to say we must not lie to girls by telling […]Read more
Hattie – Girls out Loud Ambassador, Radio X Presenter and DJ talks about her time as a Big Sister: ‘When I first joined the Big Sister programme I was unsure on how I’d actually be able to benefit or help a young woman and the impact I’d have. Spending time with Alisha has been the […]Read more
The Big and Little Sisters at Blackburn Central High School experienced a real treat back in September when they were invited to an event celebrating 100 years of women in Policing in Preston. The event was attended by over 100 Policewomen and the Girls Out Loud party were treated like VIPS for the day, attending […]Read more
Graham and Brown, the global wallpaper and wall art manufacturer in Blackburn is a huge supporter of our Big Sister programme and last month they invited the current group of Big and Little Sisters at Blackburn Central High School to their offices and design studio to see what it takes to be a global leader […]Read more
Our Founder, Jane is a super champion for the upcoming #Imnotjohn campaign. Will you join her? Recent Guardian research found that there are more FTSE100 chief executives called John than there are women Chief Executives in total. The dynamic PR duo at Yellow Jigsaw have decided to launch a campaign to raise awareness of this […]Read more
We hear so many amazing stories from both Big and Little Sisters that we wanted to share them with you. This month Rebecca Bowers talks about her experience of being a Big Sister. “Being part of the Big Sister programme has been so rewarding. I’m in my second year of mentoring now and absolutely love […]Read more
We-Consent™ is a new App that allows users to video themselves agreeing to have sex before they start as a way of alleviating the cry of date rape the morning after. Good idea? Absolutely not! It is so flawed it has taken me days to come up with this blog as my logical brain has […]Read more