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Last Updated: Friday November 11 2005 16:46 GMT

Case study: I'm a future female leader

Edith took part in a workshop for the female leaders of tomorrow
Girls from six London schools got the chance to work with famous women at a workshop for the leaders of tomorrow.

Edith spoke to Newsround about learning leadership from a group of top female figures including MPs Tessa Jowell and Diane Abbott.

Click on the right-hand purple box to hear Edith's interview.

"I'm Edie, I'm 15 and I'm from London.

My school and a few other schools are getting together to celebrate women in leadership, how women achieve leadership, whether there are any drawbacks or problems for women, how women can achieve their best and how it's really important for women not to feel daunted by men or areas that are mainly dominated by men.

We're holding a conference, we're going to have workshops and we've already had some speakers and a debate.

You asked one question in particular to the MP Diane Abbott. What did you ask her?

In her speech, she said that it was really important for women not to be stereotyped and for people to believe that women are a particular way.

I commented that maybe it's important for women to have some particular characteristics that men can't necessarily bring to politics or leadership in general.

What subjects are you taking at GSCE?

I'm taking Maths, Further Maths, English Literature, English Language, Triple Science, History, Religious Studies, French, German, Ancient Greek and Design Technology.

What area do you want to study in, in the future, or what area do you see yourself working in?

I'd quite like to do something with the Humanities - politics or maybe banking - I'm not really sure, in fact I don't really have much of a clue.

I think I'll decide once I've been to university because, apparently at university, you can see a lot more of the world and understand about what goes on.

Why do Humanities or banking interest you?

I think it's really interesting to see how other people see the world. I think it's really important to think about how the world works and why things happen the way they do.

I find that sort of stuff really interesting. That's why I'm taking History and Religious Studies. I think it's also really important to have a look at what's happened in history and to learn from it and to make sure that the future is better than some parts of history.

I'd quite like to have an influence on the way the world works, myself. There are some things in the world I'm not particularly happy about and I'd quite like to change those and make sure that people don't suffer as much as they do for really petty things.

Have you got an example of when you took leadership?

I was voted class captain when I was in Year Seven which I was really pleased with.

Before that, when I was in primary school, I was head girl which I was really pleased with because I got to go around and make sure that people didn't do naughty things at break-time and didn't go where they weren't supposed to.

I do enjoy taking the lead because I like to know that I'm having an influence on what's going on around me.

In Duke of Edinburgh (awards scheme), I was group leader of that and so I made sure that people brought all the right pots and pans and that there was food for everyone and that we didn't get lost.

It was really quite confusing because there was a group of eight people and everybody wanted to go in different directions, everybody was arguing with each other and although we we're all friends it was still quite hard because it's even more delicate around your own friends - but I really enjoyed it. I think it's really important at a young age to realise that it's not scary standing up and saying things that you believe in and it's not scary to take leadership.

I think the longer you leave it in your life, not taking any leadership and not taking anything for yourself , the worse it gets because you get more and more scared of what will happen if you do stand up and do public speaking, or something like that.

If you are used to it from a fairly young age then you learn that it's actually quite fun and there are benefits of taking the lead and standing up for what you believe in."

Edith, 15, London

The conference Edith attended was called New Directions: A conference for the female leaders of tomorrow


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