First organized by the Socialist Party of America in memory of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, International Women’s Day was embraced by the Bolshevik Revolution and proclaimed an official holiday by Vladimir Lenin and Alexandra Kollontai. It has been adopted in the West ever since 1977, when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim the 8th of March as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace. Given its working-class origins, the day is often referred to as International Working Women’s Day.

Girls Talk London is an organization that strives to connect young women with women who have established successful careers in the most male-dominated of competitive industries. In the spirit of the working woman, Girls Talk London will host a Women’s Day event at the St. Paul’s Cathedral in partnership with St Paul’s Institute. The event will be held on the 10th of March. In a panel, successful professionals will discuss their career journeys, as well as offering advice in relation to the challenges they once faced and continue to face. The panel will be followed by speed mentoring sessions in which attendees will have the chance to engage in one-on-on discussions with the speakers at the crypt area of the Cathedral. The sessions will provide a much valuable networking opportunity as well as focused career advice.

Speakers include Rachel Bentley, director at PwC; the Revd Canon Tricia Hillas, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral; Donna McDowell, head of schools and families at St Paul’s Cathedral; Lorraine Wright, director at USB Bank; Annika Allen, journalist; Pilar Nalwimba, owner of My Social Media PA; Ronke Oke, founder of Bread & Butter PR and Afua Adom, features editor at Pride Magazine and producer at Arise TV.

Attendees were chosen from young women aged 16-24 through a competitive application process in which they explained why they should be chosen to attend the event.

On the same day, Girls Talk London is set to launch an online talk show. The talk show, like the panel, will also be career-based, but focuses on the fashion, beauty and health industries. In a more informal setting, there will be room to discuss issues such as celebrities, relationships and the daily experiences of young women.

‘I feel that this show is much needed for young women in the UK’, says Vanessa Sanyauke, founder of Girls Talk London. ‘We need a platform for open, honest but fun conversation to help inspire and encourage young women to succeed and flourish in all aspects of their life whether it’s at work, in relationships or fashion’.

A number of trendsetter figures will take part in the talk show. The organizers believe that this group says ‘what young women in the UK actually think, with an open and honest conversation about a range of topics’. In addition to Sanyauke, hosts include Remel London, award-winning TV presenter and Yazmin Joy Vigus, founder of

Hosts will address questions to  a range of speakers including Vicky Silverthorn, former PA to a range of celebrities and founder of You Need a Vicky; Remi Ray, founder of British Plus-Size Fashion Weekend; make-up artist Vee Chanda; BBC featured women’s coach Jenny Garrett, and Ruby Mae Moore, editor-in-chief of Amor Magazine.

Interestingly, such sectors are often perceived as female-dominated compared to others. Nonetheless, Sanyauke says that ‘there is male domination across all industries on Board Level and Senior Management as the percentage of female board directors of FTSE 100 companies is still less than 30 per cent. Women are disadvantaged at the top level as it is still an old boys’ club’.

The lack of women holding senior positions was a major reason motivating Sanyauke in founding Girls Talk London. ‘Women need to be encouraged to reach senior levels. Hearing from the few women at the top on how they were able to navigate to the top, get promotions, network and balance family will hopefully encourage and show women useful techniques for success. We need more women at the top as research has shown that companies that have either a female CEO or a balanced number of women on boards outperform those who don’t’, adds Sanyauke.

The show also features two men: Dean Quinton Smith, presenter of Bear Grylls of Channel 4, as a host and Steve Ochan, fitness expert and owner of Shake That Zumba, as an interviewee. ‘As soon as I knew what it stood for, I had to be involved’, says Smith. ‘For me, it’s all about inspirational people, especially women; I’ve always been drawn to powerful women’. Originally from Morden, Smith adds, ‘what Vanessa has created is amazing; a platform to show women in Morden how to be a success, how to be powerful, and to show that men and women are equals’.

The show will be available on the Youtube channel of Girls Talk London.

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