Tennis star Yanina Wickmayer believes that every girl, regardless of her background or circumstances, should be encouraged to realize her dreams. That is why she recently became ambassador for Dare to Dream (www.daretodreamproject.org), a non-profit organization that hosts events at which inspirational women share the story of their road to success with girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. The aim: to encourage girls that “if you can dream it, you can do it”.
Paying it forward
“What immediately drew me to Dare to Dream was the fact that it is a grassroots organization for women, by women. I think it is important that girls are encouraged to believe in their dreams. That’s why I approached Dare to Dream to ask how I could help,” says Wickmayer.
Sabine Clappaert, founder of Dare to Dream adds: “having someone like Yanina Wickmayer ask how she can help is a dream come true for any non-profit organization. Yanina is such a positive, driven and caring person who wants to contribute positively to the world. She embodies everything Dare to Dream stands for, so we are enormously grateful that she wants to help our organization.”
Not enough female role models
As ambassador for Dare to Dream Wickmayer will help raise awareness for the importance of positive female role models.
Research shows that women do not have the same variety and number of role models to be inspired by than men do.
Across the EU, women are underrepresented in positions of responsibility in all fields. In the European Parliament, for example, only three in ten members are women. The situation is worst in business with, on average, one in six women members of boards in Europe’s largest publicly quoted companies and only 5% of board chairpersons. In third world countries, where gender equality measures are often less embedded, the situation is often much worse.
It is clear that there is still a lack of female role models, and opportunities to meet and be inspired by them directly are few and far between. Yet a recent Swiss study proves the positive effect of female role models on women: we perform better when we see that another woman is on our side.
Wickmayer concludes: “Giving girls the opportunity to meet inspirational women to listen to their stories – the ups and downs of their road to success – makes achieving their own dreams more realistic and achievable. ‘Dream big, work hard, don’t give up’ – that’s an important message for every girl to hear. That’s the message I want to share on behalf of Dare to Dream wherever I go.”