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The rise of a new generation of female leaders

Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 2 Sep 2011 15:27 GMT
Author: Marine Robert
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Marine Robert is co-founder of Women’UP and a delegate at the 2011 One Young World Summit in Zurich. The opinions expressed are her own.

Women'UP is a young and very active association that aims to create bonds between young female students and existing professional female networks.

After attending the inaugural One Young World summit last year as delegates, Adeline Braescu-Kerlan, Emmanuelle Duez, Idrisse Traore-Celini and I (Marine Robert), were motivated to start Women’UP.

Our fellow delegates were an incredible source of inspiration and gave us the strength and energy to launch this ambitious project. 

The concept of Women’UP was born after we consulted women in leading positions at Deloitte. What we discovered gave us the desire to improve the role played by women in firms, especially at the top management level.

We have chosen to focus more specifically on the role played by networks in career development, because many women are not aware of the value of being well-connected and visible in an organisation when they first enter the work market.

We want to inform students, both male and female, about the gender issue, even though it may not be a primary concern for young people.

It is a complex subject that requires maturity and experience. But we are convinced that this first step is absolutely necessary in order to raise awareness and to break down stereotypes.

Based on the phenomenal experience we had at One Young World in 2010, we believe that change starts with young people.

Initially our project will connect approximately thirty female students from the Women’UP Club, with existing professional networks.

Our objective is to make young women realise that gender diversity is a real issue in professional organisations, that women’s self-censorship is one of the causes behind the glass ceiling phenomenon and also that networking is a real skill that all women need to acquire if they want to progress in their careers.

The problem is that young graduates often don’t understand its true value.

With Women’UP, our ambition is to increase collective awareness of gender inequality.

We aim to  communicate to our fellow students the challenges women face with career development and through our organisation we hope to encourage a new generation of female leaders.

While the project is currently French-based, we aim to expand the concept to other countries via the One Young World network

For more details, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Women_up.


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