Fearless Futures

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Fearless Futures: A movement of fearless young women’s leadership

Shepherds Bush, United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We work with girls in schools because by the time they are teenagers they have internalised society’s sexist messages that unknowingly influence their aspirations, choices + well-being. We give girls space to grow their courage + the knowledge to challenge gender inequality.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every girl knew her rights and value and was born into an equal society that served her needs supporting her reach her full potential?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our society still does not afford girls and women the status, power, freedom, opportunities or representation that they deserve. Stereotypes and discrimination limit girl’s aspirations, choices, and well-being but societal sexism is so entrenched, girls largely think it’s “just the way it is”. Gender inequality impacts everything! In 2014 the gender pay gap between men and women was £245bn!

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We run interactive and practical leadership development programmes that last at least 8 weeks and incorporate “peer power”, where girls are trained to run workshops for other girls in their school. We are different to the conventional approach: instead of dealing with the effects of gender stereotypes we deal with the root cause. We enable girls to develop their critical thinking with respect to the implicit messages they receive about their bodies, voice and power in society. With this knowledge of our gendered society, and the space to discover their courage, they are able to see their potential and are empowered to lead change

Awards

Invited to participate in the Young Foundation’s Incubator for high potential social ventures seeking to address inequality in education.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In August 2015, 17-year-old Fearless Futures alumna, Jessy McCabe, started a campaign for women composers to be included in Edexcel’s A-Level music syllabus. After corresponding with Edexcel to alert them to the omission and getting nowhere, Jessy launched a campaign with our support. In fact, it took a petition signed by nearly 4,000 supporters and national news coverage to sway Edexcel. The 2016 syllabus now includes one female composer in every area of study thanks to Jessy's campaigning. Jessy said: “FF definitely inspired me to take on Edexcel! Before FF it wouldn't have even crossed my mind to think of it as a problem, and even if it did I definitely would not have felt able to challenge it!”

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

After our programmes 97% of participants felt their knowledge of gender inequality was better or much better, 79% felt very confident or confident challenging gender inequality and 88% were much more or a bit more likely to participate in school from speaking up in class to formal leadership roles. Qualitatively, our participants have said; "FF challenged me to think about things I wouldn't normally each week; it gave me courage and I realised I can actually contribute to this world" and "I have become more ambitious in my aims” and “the course made me see the world in a different light, I saw everyday things still aren’t equal. It’s like my world was under a blanket. After FF the blanket has been lifted and everything is so clear to me now” and “leading peers is great because it helped me to realise sharing my ideas and opinions is important”.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our growth strategy is organic sales into schools and harnessing the referral power of Headteachers to new schools through the quality of our service and impact. We wish to pursue a regional model and so within the next 18 months will assess which region outside of London we will move into. Over the 5y+ horizon, semi-franchising may support our regional growth model putting power in the hands of local passionate women. Lobbying Ofsted, the school regulator, to include gender as a criteria for school inspections will also support our growth.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

* The plan to achieve financial sustainability is through delivering our innovative programmes to corporates and universities, which we have just started, alongside schools. The margins on university and corporate business are significantly higher, effectively subsidising schools. Further, by growing the movement to women in work, we can also meaningfully connect multiple generations of girls and women in school projects.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are organisations working with girls and young women in the UK, dealing with issues of low self-esteem and aspiration. These existing organisations address the symptoms of an unequal society. By not being explicit about entrenched inequality they reinforce the dangerous message that social change is about women being a bit better, rather than shifting the social fabric of society and through challenging limiting gender norms (as FF does). Fearless Futures unconventionally and innovatively addresses the root causes of gender norms, engaging girls in using their voice to lead change.
Team

Founding Story

* Hanna was working in investment banking when she realised that the organisations working on gender diversity were focused on making girls&women more confident & resilient. Put simply they seemed to want women to really just be better women. The problem with this is it teaches women to survive, rather than giving women the tools to decode our gendered society to identify and challenge entrenched inequality using their voice, sisterhood and power – through leading peers and beyond. Further, with courage to challenge inequality they can rightfully lead change of the system for the benefit of girls/women and boys/men!

Team

Founder & CEO is full-time. She is supported by a contingent workforce of x6 trainers who deliver school programmes. There is part-time voluntary support from 2 people and an advisory board of 4 people: Michael Slavinsky, Haroona Irshan-Franklin, Terry Molloy and Bethan Thomas. FF is hiring a full-time COO in early 2016 to formalize the operations, processes and framework for sustainable growth and to free CEO time for sales, strategic partnerships, strategy and vision.
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