Listen up, everyone – there’s a new movement in town and it’s called Girls I Rate (GIR). The initiative seeks to highlight, celebrate and encourage more diverse women to enter into the creative showbiz industries.

some of the members of the movement pose for photosSome of the GIR members and organisers (Jessica Pitocchi/PA)

 

We went along to the fancy launch night at The Yacht London on International Women’s Day and asked some of the celeb guests why they became members and what women they rate for inspiration.

Carla Marie Williams

Songwriter and founder of Girls I Rate

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Carla, who’s written tracks for the likes of Beyonce, The Saturdays and Kylie, said she was inspired to set up this initiative in order to try to avoid some of the things she experienced coming up in the music industry. She said: “I wanted to do it because I felt like there have been so many times that I have come up against conflict in the industry, where I’ve wanted to step into areas where women not necessarily are, and I’ve been shut down a number of times.”

She plans to run workshops, master classes and luncheons to create opportunities and raise interest in women joining these types of industries and thinks it’s particularly important that women form a collective voice: “So many times we scream in isolation but we never really scream together.”

She hopes that by creating this group – which she eventually wants to see expand to a ‘GIR army’ – it will encourage women who work together to form deeper connections than just inside the workplace. She said: “I feel men always have a common ground between their personal and their professional life. Professionally they’ll have work then personally they’ll go watch football together, drink together, play golf or video games together.

“Whereas women, we’re so busy maybe being mothers or doing our thing that we never really come together as one in the same way.”

Another more serious hope is that should any issues arise that affect a woman or women in the industry, they will know they have a strong backing behind them: “There’s fear in numbers so if women feel like there’s a group of women who are genuinely going to expose anything that’s untoward people are going to have a second thought about doing it.”

Jorgie Porter

Actress

jorgie porter at a press event(Ian West/PA)

 

Jorgie has a strong personal network of women and jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a new project celebrating the strength of women. She said: “I’ve always been raised by women – my mum and my grandma – and they’ve been a massive influence on my life so to have an association where you are celebrating women and remembering they are strong is amazing.”

The area where she thinks there is the most room for change in her industry is behind the camera rather than in front of it. “When I film there’s not a lot of women directors, there’s a lot more of a men-heavy crew. Maybe women get scared and don’t want to get involved but that’s changing,” she said.

Women she rates: Her mum, Beyonce and her eyelash lady Denise “because she tells me about all the parties she does and she’s crazy and I just think I hope to be like her when I grow up.”

Kanya King

CEO of the Mobos

kanya king at the mobo awards(Katja Ogrin/PA)

 

Kanya never had a network of likeminded creatives when she started out in the music industry and knows how important they can be. “When I started out it was very isolating and very bleak. I had to set up my own network so we could support each other and provide the guidance and tools to get ahead so I very much support initiatives like this.

“Networks like this are invaluable in terms of providing the guidance and support for young girls coming into the creative industries.”

She thinks that in order to get the best pool of talent, women need to be encouraged to enter and work their way up within the creative industries: “You need to get a wide pool of the best talent, and that talent has to come from half the population otherwise you’re missing a trick.

“People want role models and mentors and I think that helps other women to feel that it’s possible to reach a senior level.”

Women she rates: June Sarpong “because she’s had a tragic loss that’s been very public and the way she’s dealt with it, I just think she’s an incredible formidable courageous person who I admire.”

Zara Holland

Miss Great Britain

Zara Holland attends the celebrity screening of London Has Fallen(Hannah McKay/PA)

 

Zara says that although there are lots of different ways to encourage women to work together, this approach with lots of diverse women from various industries is refreshingly different. She said: “There are so many small circles in these types of industries and there’s loads of people I haven’t met here tonight and I’m so excited to get to know them all.”

Although Zara knew what she wanted to do with her life fairly early on, she knows others aren’t so lucky and have a lot of pressure on them to decide. She hopes this type of initiative will benefit them, adding that all young women should: “Be confident and be true to who you are, and surround yourself with people who believe in you.”

Women she rates: Kate Middleton and Miranda Kerr “because she (Kate) does a lot of charity work, she has never done anything bad in the press and (Miranda’s) a Victoria’s Secret model which I would love to be but I’m too short.”

Preeya Kalidas

Actress

Preeya Kalidas arrives at the 16th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards(Lauren Hurley/PA)

 

Preeya thinks it’s imperative for women to form a strong, supportive group within the industry they work in so that young women are also keen to join in. She also thinks bringing together women from all walks of life and all career paths is a great way to kick things off: “I’ve just walked into the room and, particularly being on International Women’s Day, it’s just a bevy of amazing women from all various backgrounds.”

She believes having such a diverse range of members in the initiative will allow any young woman to pick out someone they can compare themselves to: “Seeing the kinds of women that are a part of this initiative, hopefully the younger generation can be encouraged by that. It’s a real varied collective which I think that anybody wanting to come into the industry can relate to someone.”

Women she rates: Her mother “because she’s had things she’s wanted to do in life but for various reasons hasn’t been able to but she’s always encouraged me to be positive.”