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International Women's Day - the importance of role models

Ahead of our International Women’s Day event we chatted to Little Pink Book’s founder Roberta Hickey, on her opinion of role models, why they’re so important and how the definition of a role model changes as you get older (and why hers is no longer Faye from Steps!).

When asked to write this blog I began by looking up the definition of a role model. I noticed that in many of the descriptions it referred to a role model as someone looked up to by children or younger people and I couldn’t help thinking I don’t think that is necessarily the case. I certainly had role models when I was younger but they are very different to what they are today, back then I would say my role models were Faye from Steps or Rachel from S Club 7 (mainly due to how well she wore bandana tops). Now in my 30s (eeps) I think that role models are more important to me than ever, they certainly come in all different forms and not always people who are older or more senior career wise.

In a society where the role and positioning of women has changed dramatically in my parents life time and certainly my grandparents I think it’s imperative for women of all ages to have positive role models. Using the music industry as an example, as that is the focus of little pink book, despite a move forward there is still a long way to go to reach equality within the industry. I believe the way we will achieve this is by shining a light on brilliant women working in music to showcase the different roles in the industry and break stereotypes associated with them. In areas such as sound engineering, tour managing and production (to name a few) I believe female role models are so important to encourage other women to consider those roles themselves and follow in their footsteps.

Discussing the importance of female role models I feel it is necessary to mention social media and how this can build idols that become unhealthy for young women to be striving towards. A platform built on likes and filters is creating goals which are unattainable as these people don’t exist in that form in the real world. There is a real responsibilty that comes with being a role model and I do believe people are waking up to this and using social media platforms to speak about real life issues like mental health and every day struggles. I believe the best role model is not necessarily someone with a perfect glossy life but how someone deals with ups and downs like everyone else and is open about that

I’ve noticed how role models change depending on where you are in life, speaking to a friend recently she said as she is considering having a baby soon, her role models are working mum’s as she is in awe of how they juggle everything. I found that interesting in thinking about role models as when initially considering their importance I immediately associated them with been inspiring and a way to help motivation, which they certainly are. However, I also think a level of their importance comes from the fact that they can bring reassurance and a role model can be someone who you admire purely for the way they handle everyday life.

By Roberta Hickey

Roberta is a freelance music consultant who specialises in talent representation, brand partnerships & events. She is the founder of Little Pink Book – a music consultancy agency dedicated to celebrating women in music.

Follow little pink book @_littlepinkbook_

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