News & Media

“Dare greatly and lead boldy” urges Edwina Dunn

“We need you to dare greatly and lead boldy.” This was the inspiring message Your Life Chair Edwina Dunn gave to an assembled gathering of 300 teenagers today at the launch of a new book celebrating female role models and boosting girls’ aspirations.


The Female Lead book, documentary and teaching resource were launched at The Imax Theatre of London’s Science Museum today. The event, hosted by Edwina Dunn, offered the secondary school children from 10 different schools the opportunity to hear directly from some of the 60 Female Leads via a panel discussion hosted by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and featuring space scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, Mulberry School Head, Dr Vanessa Ogden and Oscar-winning costume designer, Sandy Powell OBE.


Dun was echoing the words of Hillary Clinton, who the previous day had made her first public pronouncement since the Presidential election. She said the “the future was female.” The Female Lead book features the interviews of inspirational women from all walks of life. Among the 60 women featured in The Female Lead book are politicians and artists, journalists and teachers, engineers and campaigners, fire fighters and film stars.

Speaking at the launch today Amanpour urged teenagers to view the Kardashians and other social media stars as “entertainment, not aspiration.” She said: “We are obsessed with social media, but that shouldn’t be your validation.” Speaking about her journey from school to space science, Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock said: “At school I was told limit my ambitions but I wanted to reach for the stars literally.” She described her greatest achievement being “the 5 or 6 times in the past few years, a girl has come up to me and said I’ve changed their life, that’s a huge responsibility.”

The book features a host of inspirational role models from the world of science including Professor Nazneen Rahman, Geneticist, doctor and singer-songwriter, Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code and Dr Cori Bargmann, Neurobiologist, Rockefeller University, and co-chair, BRAIN Initiative

The Female Lead book, including a comprehensive teaching pack, will be donated free of charge to 18,000 schools across the UK and the US with the aim of starting new conversations in the classroom around routes to achieving your goals and providing a broader spectrum of female role models for both girls and boys. The accompanying teaching resource has been created in conjunction with high achieving girls’ comprehensive school, The Mulberry School, based in Tower Hamlets, London. The Mulberry School has earned the accolade of being amongst the top 100 performing non – selective schools in the UK in several different years with Mulberry School Head Vanessa Ogden designated a ‘National Leader in Education’ undertaking ‘School to School Support’. The teaching resource draws on the insights and commonalities of the stories of the 60 women in the book and aims to encourage debate around the many varied paths to success and offer practical steps for setting and achieving goals.

The Female Lead campaign founder, Edwina Dunn, said: “I set about creating The Female Lead book in 2014 with the aim of fostering ambition and self-belief in young women. We hope our book and teaching resource can open up more inclusive conversations about ambition in the classroom, so more young people are inspired and enabled to think positively about their future.”

The Female Lead book, documentary series and teaching resource will be available from tomorrow, February 9th 2017. Members of the public can nominate a school to receive a free copy of the book.