04 July 2022

How LinkedIn is turning the spotlight on visible role models at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022

04 July 2022

All eyes are on Old Trafford this week as England women kick off their Euro 2022 campaign against Austria at Old Trafford.

Sarina Wiegman’s arrival as head coach has seen her charges hit a purple patch with 12 wins and two draws in the first 14 games, making the Lionesses pre-tournament favourites.

Wiegman took many by surprise by installing Arsenal’s Leah Williamson as her captain and it will be a proud moment when she leads the team out in Manchester on Wednesday.

Leah Williamson will captain England as they look to win the Euros on home soil. (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA Archive)

But a former - and indeed the first ever women’s Euro captain - has also been making headlines in the run-up to this summer’s festival of football.

Carol Thomas is leading a team of female footballing trailblazers who are retracing their steps to success. The team of women will walk from The Mornflake Stadium in Crewe, venue for the first Women’s EURO game in 1984, to Old Trafford.

Carol is joined by:

  • Rachel Yankey, one of England’s highest capped players and the first registered professional female football player in England
  • Iqra Ismail, the first captain of the Somali Women’s National Team and Director of Women’s Football
  • Chloe Morgan, Crystal Palace goalkeeper, ambassador and qualified lawyer
  • Anette Borjesson, retired Swedish women’s captain and Carol’s counterpart in 1984

The walk celebrates the importance of visible role models in inspiring future generations on and off the pitch, a key theme of LinkedIn’s sponsorship of the Women’s EURO 2022.

New research from the popular professional networking site reveals 43% of women believe they would be more successful if they had a role model to look up to in the workplace, with 55% agreeing there is a lack of relatable role models in the professional world.

And to mark the event, LinkedIn has pulled together barely-before-seen archive footage of the women’s game, showing just much it’s grown through the generations.

The research shows that men are 21% more likely to be promoted to a leadership position than women. Some progress has been made, with hiring of women into roles at director level or above has seen incremental improvements over time, with women now making up 37% of leadership hires, compared to 31% in 2015.

Demonstrating the need for more visible role models, professionals who have one, say they taught them to believe in themselves (76%), inspired them to achieve more (75%) and lifted them up when they were low (74%). Importantly, seven in ten say this influential figure has shown them what people of their gender can achieve, despite societal barriers.

However, 72% of those with a role model say there is still work to be done to make them more visible. Women, in particular, feel strongly about this lack of visibility, with 57% believing that having a relatable role model is crucial to achieving career success and 70% agreeing it’s easier to be like someone you can see.

Despite this, since the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award was introduced in 1954, just 14 women have won it. Last year’s winner, Emma Raducanu, was the first female recipient since Zara Tindall (then Phillips) in 2006.

Emma Raducanu’s success has sparked a boom in recreational tennis (Steve Paston/PA)

(PA Wire)

And while 43% of professionals believe there are not enough relatable models in the public eye, some celebrities are seen to be setting a good example. Footballer Marcus Rashford tops the list as the most influential role model in the UK (32%), followed by Kate Middleton (29%) and writer and activist Katie Piper (29%). Those with a celebrity role model say they respect them for standing up for what they believe in (49%) and because they are proof that hard work can pay off (48%).

Chloe Morgan said: “When women see other women achieving their own goals, they are more likely to believe in themselves to do the same - this is something I have witnessed first-hand both in my sporting and legal careers. It’s also why I’m heavily involved in mentoring programmes, to empower future generations.”

While LinkedIn’s Janine Chamberlin, added: “From the conversations we increasingly see on LinkedIn, visible role models play a vital role in shaping people’s careers. Seeing others in roles people wish to emulate, encourages them to believe in their own abilities and helps them set goals for themselves, regardless of gender, race, age or sexuality.

“In the same way the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament provides trailblazing female footballers a sporting stage on which to be seen and inspire others.”

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