A new initiative is looking for successful women all across Dublin to help inspire young students from disadvantaged areas.

Inspiring the Future Ireland (ITFI), an initiative run by South Dublin County Partnership, launched its ‘Inspiring Women’ campaign last Friday, March 8, at The Foundry at Google to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The campaign was launched via a career speed-networking event where 250 young women heard from 25 female leaders in business, education, science and the arts.

Inspiring Women seeks 1,000 successful female professionals all over the city to give one hour of their time to speak to schoolchildren from disadvantaged areas about their career, challenges and opportunities they’ve encountered, and how young people can achieve their dream job.

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests increasing interactions between young women and successful female professionals working in a wide variety of jobs.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone, who was keynote speaker, spoke of the importance of the initiative.

She said: “I believe it is vitally important for young girls who are considering any career to have female role models in their chosen fields.

“Representation is key to success – you need to be able to see yourself in those roles you are aspiring towards.

“I believe this can be achieved through building such relationships as we are here to establish and creating positive networks between young women and professional female role models as envisioned by the Inspiring Women programme.”

Fionnuala Meehan, head of Google Ireland, said role models are “critical to enabling the aspirations of young people and challenging preconceived perceptions”.

She said: “By meeting leading professional females in person, it is hoped that career success is not an abstract notion to young girls, but instead something that is very much achievable with the right mindset.”

Volunteers interested in participating in Inspiring Women can sign up via www.inspiringthefuture.ie.