A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the Northern Girls Club, set up by two Burnley teachers who are on a mission to empower females from the north and our borough in particular.
Sasha and Lauren, who are cousins, set up Northern Girls Club after noticing an underrepresentation of successful Northern women, in whatever form that may be. As secondary school teachers, they noticed how social media was having an impact on the ambitions and confidence of their students. All too often, Instagram squares show a so-called “perfect” ideal of success and can make young women feel as though they aren’t good enough.
Lauren told Burnley.co.uk: “There’s no algorithm that can tell you how to be happy. I know when I was at school, a man came in and asked us to fill in a survey and that would tell us what we should do as a career. I tell my students to do what you love and what you are good at. Social media tells us we should be successful in a certain way, but that doesn’t necessarily make you happy.”
Lauren teaches English at St Wilfred’s and Sasha teaches English at Shuttleworth College. Both grew up in Burnley but moved away for university and both admit they felt they didn’t quite fit in where they studied.
Sasha explained: “I did my degree at The University of Newcastle and I realised that I only truly valued Burnley once I’d moved away. I then moved to Manchester after my degree and lived in the Northern Quarter. In theory, I should have loved living in a place like that which seemingly had everything a young person needed, but I felt like a fish out of water.
“There’s a real sense of community in Burnley. Women from our borough who are successful are so because they are hardworking, they have often overcome challenging situations, they are authentic and have that salt-of-the-earth mentality. When people from Burnley say “hi, are you OK?” they really do want to know if you’re OK.”
So, what is the aim of the Northern Girls Club?
“We want females from our borough to have the cultural capital and recognition they deserve. There’s huge potential in our town and whilst we’ve seen a real change over the last few years, more work can be done,” Lauren told us.
Indeed, Lauren was spurred on to set up Northern Girls Club, not just to inspire her students and promote self-esteem and mental health, but for personal reasons too. She’d had her second daughter and was fed up with seeing images of women looking perfect shortly after giving birth.
She teamed up with her cousin Sasha to instead focus on local, real-life, attainable examples of successful females.
You can see plenty of examples on their Instagram page. If you know of a strong Northern woman who deserves to be shouted about, let Lauren and Sasha know.
We keep hearing Lauren and Sasha on radio shows and they’re about to launch their very own podcast. We think they’re fantastic ambassadors for the ladies in our borough and we wish them all of the best with getting their message out there.