At last the antidote has been discovered to Kate Moss, Charlotte Church, Cheryl Tweedy, Chantelle of Big Brother and every other role model you wished your daughter had never started to admire. A scheme called Women of the Future is about to replace them with some people they can imitate without jeopardising their health or their pocket money.
Some 31 of the country's brightest and most promising female prospects across the diverse worlds of the arts, business, media, science and technology have been named in the inaugural year of the prestigious national awards. Organised with the support of Cherie Blair and Ruth Kelly, the minister for women, the project will culminate in an awards ceremony at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane early next month. The event is sponsored by Shell UK.
The entrants, from across the UK, have already been through an exhaustive selection process, including a personal interview with the judging panel, chaired by Baroness Susan Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution.
The short-listed entrants include Jasmine Al Fayed, the 25-year-old fashion designer and daughter of Mohammed Al Fayed; Carla Stent, the chief operating officer of Barclays Asset & Sales Finance, and Louisa Fletcher, the 33-year-old self-made millionaire who is the founder of propertypriceadvice.co.uk.
Among the front-runners in the coveted Arts, Media and Culture section are highly rated 20-year-old film director Vicky Jewson, and Alice Instone, the talented young painter responsible for Twenty One Twenty First Century Women - an exhibition of portraits celebrating women of high achievement, who range from the pop singer Annie Lennox to Cherie Blair.
The initiative, which is due to become an annual event, is the brainchild of the entrepreneur and professional networker Pinky Lilani, who also founded the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in 1999.
Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Ms Lilani said that the aim was to reward young talent and to give Britain's girls and young women a set of role models they could truly relate to.
"I work a lot on women's issues, and what has become increasingly apparent is that girls coming out of school or young women in their twenties don't want to see role models in their fifties or sixties," she said.
"We wanted to do something for the younger generation - to celebrate their achievements and provide a platform to let people know what they're doing, but also to inspire their peers.
"We are looking for the next big stars, the next big stories; women who have shown great passion, who have made a difference and will continue to make a difference."
Arts & Media
JASMINE AL FAYED
Company: Jasmine di Milo
What they say about her: "She has the drive, ambition and talent to be the next big fashion house."
DR JANE TATESON
What they say: "Jane is one of the most influential technologists at the telecoms giant. She has helped develop a way to link moving cars to a communications network that will ultimately make driving safer."
DR SHAHEENA JANJUHA-JIVRAJ
Company: Brunel Business School
What they say: "In the study of family businesses, Shaheena is one of the UK's most respected academics."
LOUISA FLETCHER, 33
Company: propertypriceadvice.co.uk; fish4homes.co.uk
They say: "Meet a young entrepreneur tapping into the property-price boom."
She says: "You get to a point where you're a bit fed up with providing the picks and shovels for everybody else in the gold rush."Reuse content