by Gaby Spinks
Organisers were encouraged and pleased
by the success of the Yemeni and Somali Young Women’s Day
on 25th April at Verdon Recreation Centre which was filled with
the chatter of 100 young women.
The event, encouraging these young women to look
towards their future, was organised by Connexions workers Sophia
Saleh and Lorraine Jones and funded by the European Social Fund
and Connexions Plus Partnership. There were stalls from the Employment
Service, Nursing and Midwifery, Personal Advisors from Connexions
and demonstrations of hairdressing, beauty therapy, shiatsu massage,
nail art and henna tattoos.
The day was a learning experience for everyone.
The woman running the Nursing stall, keen to recruit women from
different ethnic communities, said she had realised that because
the girls assumed they would marry young and have children, they
weren’t really considering their education and career options.
“The nursing profession is also very keen to take on older
entrants and maybe the answer is to target women after their children
have started full-time education. Nurses need to represent their
local communities, including community health care” she said,
“Nursing offers a good career structure for anyone.”
The Employment Service stand was also busy. Talking
to the girls I discovered a real mix of opinions. Some were interested
in career paths and opportunities, but others thought a lot of young
girls were slipping through the education net. One yooung woman,
who had just qualified as a pharmacist, explained she thought the
girls needed more positive role models and encouragement to stay
in education. “Some of the girls are more interested in who’s
marrying whom and where they’re going to live than getting
on with real life,” she said.