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It Is the Duty of Every Woman of My Generation to Stand Up for Young Girls

27/04/2015 17:42 | Updated 27 June 2015

As part of the Inspiring Women Campaign that I have been leading for the last year and a half, we brought together some months ago some of the most talented women in the fashion industry in the UK with one hundred teenage girls at a school in East London. For one hour, the women talked to the girls about their jobs, their careers and their lives. The reaction of the girls could not have been more uplifting: no matter how well-known and famous some of the women were or how senior, or even how beautiful they looked, all that the girls wanted to know was how to succeed in such a competitive industry. They did not look at fashion as an aside interest, they saw fashion as a serious career option. 'Looks' could not have mattered to them any less.

Not a signal, considering that fashion is an industry worth £26billion and an industry that generates millions of jobs for men and women all over the world. Fashion is is not only one of the most dynamic sectors in the UK economy, but also one of the most successful ones in terms of social mobility.

The strength of the UK fashion industry is precisely the reason for the UN Fashion Show to come to London for the first time. The talent of ten students from two of the best fashion schools in the world is being recreated on the catwalk by the expert and delicate hands of artisans from developing countries. Both sides, fashion students and artisans, moved by the same aim: excellence and hard work.

The message could not be closer to my heart. I have spent months going around the country with the Inspiring Women campaign trying to convey this message to thousands of girls: that they should feel free to aim high (as free as boys), but that no dream happens without hard work and effort.

The women awarded at the Women: Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE) Awards know that well. They are all exceptional role models. The very best in their fields, which is why it is only fair that we all celebrate their success. But we also need to recognize the work that thousands of anonymous women - whose names we don't know and whose faces we don't see in the glossy magazines or on TV - who are silently making their own mark and setting fantastic examples for the coming generations of young girls.

Paying homage to those women and encouraging them to speak up and inspire the younger generations is precisely what we also do with the Inspiring Women Campaign and that is why I decided to support the WIE network (and yes, I am doing this in the middle of a general election - and no, it is not an oversight).

Because no matter your age, your skills or your background, every woman has an inner role model and it is the duty of every woman of my generation to stand up for young girls.

Miriam González Durántez is a partner of international law firm Dechert LLP where she is co-chair of the firm's International Trade and Government Regulation practice, focusing on international and EU trade law and policy