How it started
Modern Muse was the charitable arm of everywoman, a membership organisation founded in 1999 by everywoman’s co-founders Karen Gill MBE and Maxine Benson MBE with a mission to advance women in business and support organisations with their gender diversity goals.
The early years of Modern Muse
After a decade of championing women in the workplace through awards programmes, gendered training and everywoman’s online learning and development platform, everywoman turned its attention to the next generation of females to enter the workplace. Frightening evidence was emerging that girls and young women still in education were experiencing depression and anxiety about future career prospects. It was clear that it wasn’t just women already in the workplace who were desperately in need of senior role models to support their progression; the next generation needed the inspiration, guidance, support and mentorship of their forbearers too.
And so in 2010, together with one hundred woman—our founding muses and patrons—the Modern Muse project was launched. The mission was to shine a spotlight on these amazing women from all walks of life, to share their stories far and wide so that every girl, everywhere, could see that an interesting, challenging and rewarding career was within her grasp.
The first schools programme of its kind
In the decade that followed, our founding muses reached out to girls across the UK, offering work experience, internships, career advice and mentorship. Through the very first schools programme of its kind, our 100 Modern Muses helped broaden the career horizons of girls and introduced them to careers they had never before considered, and often didn’t even know existed. Prior to attending one of our workshops, only 7% of girls believed they could be leaders in the future; following the workshop, that number rose to 75%. The vision was being realised.
The next evolution
We wanted to reach every girl in need of support, and it soon became clear we couldn’t do this through our schools programme alone. Following everywoman’s establishment of Modern Muse as a charity, and with the financial and technical support of our generous partners BP and Microsoft, Modern Muse went digital.
An online platform was born which enabled women anywhere to share their career journeys, advice and guidance with girls everywhere.
2020 and beyond
The Covid-19 pandemic forced UK schools to close, and the cancellation of many of our planned fundraising events. We would need to transform once more, and in 2021 the Trustees determined that the role of Modern Muse would be to support organisations with a shared mission. Since then, everywoman events such as the everywoman in Tech Awards and the everywoman Awards for female entrepreneurs have raised tens of thousands of pounds through raffles and donations for two amazing charities: The Prince’s Trust, which helps young people access training and jobs, and TechSheCan, which is doing incredible work in its mission to level the gender playing field in the technology space.
Discover more about the charities we’re supporting
Tech She Can launched in 2018 as a campaign and project to inspire more girls into tech and one year ago became a registered UK charity. They deliver their services digitally and have already directly reached over 650 schools and 10,000 children in classrooms across the UK, inspiring them to pursue a technology career. Working in collaboration with the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, everywoman partnered to launch their Role Model campaign earlier this year and Modern Muse contributed £8,000 to support this work. If you work in technology, please think about becoming one of their role models – more info can be found here Role models - TechSheCan
Many of you will know the Princes Trust, but the Women Supporting Women campaign is a female-led initiative started by Modern Muse Patron Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder of The White Company to help young women who are often facing incredible challenges – everything from domestic and sexual violence, long-term unemployment, homelessness, bullying and mental health challenges. As a result, their confidence and belief in themselves is shattered. Women supporting Women works to help rebuild lost confidence and inspires these vulnerable women to start something new, with the support of mentoring, skills training and funding to start their own business.