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Eleanor Mills, Sunday Times journalist and second of the Head Girls’ Speakers, was the guest of honour at a supper with invited girls this week.
Eleanor’s theme was the challenge of successfully balancing work and home life, given that career decisions are rarely taken in isolation from family considerations: ‘I hope that if girls are aware that at some point choices will have to be made, they will be much more empowered as a result.’
Recalling her own education at St Paul’s, she said, ‘Nobody talked about being a wife or a mum, it was all about having a career.’
She was lucky to quickly identify that her passion and talent overlapped in journalism and she rose meteorically to become News Editor of The Sunday Times aged just 28.
Working in news she found herself surrounded by men – women being more prominent in the features world of travel, culture and review.
‘Women can have lots of different roles; the question is how they fit together. When thinking of your career path, consider that many professions have two ‘versions’. Perhaps being a GP would be easier to balance with family life than being a surgeon, for example. Or a solicitor, rather than a corporate lawyer.’
Her talk was followed by a Q and A session with the girls, covering topics including the discomfort of some men when faced with strong women; why parts of the commercial world are still so male dominated; and how individuals can effect change.
Eleanor’s parting advice to ‘take all the confidence you can from Roedean, for you might not find such solidarity and camaraderie in the workplace’ concluded a very memorable and thought-provoking evening.
The next Head Girl’s Speaker is author Philip Eade on 1 February. Book a place