National Nuclear Laboratory


Friday 8 March 2024

International Women’s Day 2024

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Invest In Women’. At NNL, we have joined up with the Girls Out Loud organisation, who run mentoring programmes for teenage girls. Two of our colleagues are participating in their ‘Big Sister’ programme at a local high school. 

Teenage years are becoming more demanding. Each day, our young people must navigate a multitude of challenges including poor body image, early sexualisation and cyber-bullying. The ‘Big Sister’ programme targets the middle girls, who tend to get lost in the noise and share a propensity to underperform. Mentoring pairs of women and teenage girls are matched for the whole school year, with regular sessions to support both the girls and their mentors.

Results from previous cohorts include:

  • 90% of girls on target to achieve 3 levels of improvement in attainment
  • no pregnancies
  • no anti-social behaviour
  • over 90% of girls setting their sights on further education or vocational training

One of the girls wrote:

“It’s great to have someone on my side to prove to me I am someone.”

Mary Erlund, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager for NNL said:

“Girls Out Loud is a fantastic organisation that is making a dramatic difference to individual lives. We are proud to be investing in girls, to enable them to become next generation of women leaders. Nuclear is growing, and we are working with the rest of the industry to increase the number of teenagers considering careers in the sector, both in STEM and the business functions. This programme not only provides a life-changing opportunity for the girls; it could open a career path that they may not have previously considered.”