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Harry Potter author "SPELLS" success for next generation

5th March 2010 Print

JK Rowling is the most inspirational and admired entrepreneurial female role-model for young women in the UK, new research carried out by The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) has revealed.

The Harry Potter author was followed, according to the survey of the nation's 14 - 24 year-olds, by fashion designer Stella McCartney and TV's Dragon's Den star, and successful business-woman, Deborah Meaden.

The research - inspired by International Women's Day on 8 March - also revealed that 75 per cent believe it is more difficult for women to get ahead in business while more than 80 per cent felt they needed to work harder than men to get ahead. And, less than 8 per cent had ambitions to run their own business.

However, more than 90 per cent felt that positive female role-models will help to pave the way for more young women to reach their full potential.

Karen Moir, director of organisational development at The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), said: "Inspiring the next generation to realise their dreams and potential is vital for business and the UK economy if it is to achieve its full potential.

"It is a real concern to see that so many young women believe it is harder for them to succeed in business and, that a lack of female role-models across society is restricting their career aspirations.

"At CFS, inspiring young people is one of our key aims. We are committed to offering equal opportunities to all colleagues and to supporting the positive contribution that young people make - both at work and in the community.

"In our latest employee survey, more than 95 per cent of the young women at CFS believe the business is committed to treating employees fairly regardless of gender.

"Together we are working to create a great place for our people to work, grow and develop. However, much more must be done by business and society if we are to fully address gender-inequality in the UK."

The Co-operative Bank and Britannia - both part of The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) - are supporting the 18th annual Inspiring Women Awards in the North-West (England) which this year, includes the inaugural Inspiring Young Women Award for the regions 16 - 25 year-olds. The awards recognise the region's entrepreneurial talent - putting success in the spotlight to inspire the next generation. For more information about the Inspiring Women Awards in the North-West visit