Girl at school using SUrface Pen to write on tablet

Modern Muse: inspirational website for young women relaunched with help from Microsoft

A website that aims to help young women find their perfect career has been relaunched with help from Microsoft.

Modern Muse contains more than 100 female role models, who share their experiences of work in the hope of inspiring youngsters to find a path to their dream job.

It was founded in 2009 by Maxine Benson MBE and Karen Gill MBE, and has now been revamped by interns and apprentices at Microsoft to mark this year’s International Day of the Girl on October 11.

Donna Robertson, a Director at Modern Muse, said: “Raising aspirations and empowering girls to make informed career decisions by showcasing a diverse array of female role models is what Modern Muse is all about.

“This website is the gateway to help girls, from all backgrounds explore all the opportunities available to them, so they can aim high and have rewarding futures. The idea behind having this tool designed by young women is in line with our unique ‘led by girls for girls’ approach and keeping girls and young women at the heart of all we do, ensures we stay relevant to our audience.

“We are eternally grateful to Microsoft, one of our founding partners, for their investment in time and resources to help us achieve our social objectives.”

Girls can use the Modern Muse website to explore subject choices and where those decisions may lead. They can also learn about the muses’ responsibilities, career paths and the subjects they studied while at school, what it’s like to work at certain companies and career opportunities at a variety of firms.

Six women and three men from Microsoft worked on the redesign, taking ideas from female students at a range of schools.

Girl at home looking at tablet

Teachers and parents have a five-year window (between 11 and 16) to grow girls’ interest in STEM before it starts to wane

Ellen Murley, a Microsoft intern who is studying for a degree in Information Management and Business at Loughborough University, was one of the women who worked on the project. She said: “In my role as Website Design Lead I’ve developed key project management skills, learned how to work with stakeholders and felt my confidence grow. I have now become a member of the Modern Muse youth ambassador board.”

The site has reached more than 1,000 young women, who have gained an insight into over 20 companies, including Lloyds Bank, Tesco, British Airways, BP and Microsoft.

Ella Cockerell, a Business Development Manager at Microsoft, was named Muse of the Month for October.

“It has been amazing to help these young women develop the new Modern Muse website,” she said. “It’s so important to inspire the next generation and I recognise from my own experience that there is a lack of role models, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and maths [STEM] sectors.”

A Microsoft study last year found that teachers and parents in the UK have a five-year window (between 11 and 16) to grow girls’ interest in STEM before it starts to wane. Less than half (43%) of those surveyed said they would consider a career in those fields.

International Day of the Girl is run by the United Nations to highlight the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to gain skills for employability. The organisation said that of the one billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – who will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common.