I tell you what I want, what I really, really want, I would like people to stop right now, thank you very much… and think for a moment.
Think about the young women with their lives ahead of them who joined the Army, RAF or Navy to show their support during the World Wars and whom fought just as ferociously to save lives and give us our freedom.
Think of the female machine operators that worked in an ammunition factory and were caught up in an explosion that killed their colleagues and wounded many more, yet they returned to work the same day (this happened in East Leeds and the ladies are referred to as the Barnbow Lasses).
Think of the nurses that over the years have helped the wounded, identified and developed some of the life-changing medical principles, techniques and drugs that we still administer today.
Think of the Suffragettes and the movement that they made happen – some losing their lives in the process – that would allow women to vote, which in turn would change attitudes and lives all over the world, forever.
Source: To Those Changing Human Health, Johnson & Johnson
Then, stop and think, was Girl Power really the brainchild of the management team behind a 90’s all-female girl pop band? I’m not convinced.
Far be it from me to discard the impact that the Spice Girls had on young women in the 90’s, after all, I will hold my hands up and say that I was one of them. I loved singing to their music and knowing that I could relate to the lyrics, but I have to be honest, I never felt that it was life changing.
As a result of the Spice Girls I never felt that I could achieve more or become more. I didn’t have the urge after listening to Spice Up Your Life to travel the world or following a dance around the kitchen to Who Do You Think You Are to start a business, it just didn’t impact on me in that way.
The point is that the Spice Girls are a manufactured group that were purposely created to resonate with an audience; young women.
While the concept was new, creating five ‘characters’ that provided an appeal that was more personal than had ever been explored previously, behind the ‘marketing’ (and multi-million-pound budget) they were simply a group of girls who were forced to live and work together after taking part in a reality TV show.
While there is no doubt that Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Posh did their bit for Girl Power and continue to hit the headlines across the globe, I feel it is hugely important that we don’t forget to look back and recognise those that made it possible for this pop phenomenon to become what they are today – multimillionaire business women.
I’m not one to take to the soap box about women in business and I don’t feel the need to now. I was taught from a very young age that if you work hard and put your mind to it, you can become anything you want to. Alternatively, if you don’t, you won’t.
I now realise of course that this isn’t possible for everyone (although it should be) and that it was a simple way to look at things, but the principle remains the same.
I’d like to see young women want to join the forces, want to become nurses, want to create a movement that will evoke world-wide change for the better and simply be the best they can be. With a recent survey suggesting that 75% of young people aspire to be YouTubers, perhaps it’s time we took greater influence from the Girl Power that delivered real results and that keep on giving today!