Big Education Challenge:
Meet finalist Sophie Koumides

Read more about the Big Education Challenge

Sophie Koumides, aged 25, from Manchester, is a performing arts graduate who founded See Her Potential to empower young girls by addressing gender stereotypes, discrimination, and harassment. They are supported to reimagine their futures through school-based interactive performance and workshops.

“I’m dedicated to shifting girls’ perspectives of themselves and their futures. I’m so excited to be a finalist, and to have the opportunity to impact so many young girls lives for the better.”

About Sophie

Sophie describes her education experience as fortunate and privileged, with a supportive family who encouraged her passion of drama, art and dance. She saw a number of her friends and peers pressured into a more ‘academic’ route.

While studying at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, she started to create workaround women’s issues and queerness, and graduated with a 1st class BA Hons in Acting. These experiences and her drive to empower girls and young women led her to create See Her Potential.

The problem

Statistics show that girls’ self-esteem drops dramatically between the ages of 11 and 14. This, combined with schools’ increasing problem with sexual harassment, makes schools the first environment in which girls learn to feel negatively about themselves.

Alongside this, the non-prioritisation of women’s history in the current curriculum leaves a gap in the role models that girls see for themselves in society.

Women are disadvantaged in the world of work, in 2021 there was a 7.9% pay gap between men’s and women’s average hourly rates, and a 30% gap when you compare women’s part-time average hourly rate to men’s full-time hourly rate.

“We can’t change societal structures overnight, but we can empower these young girls to advocate for themselves and believe they have a chance to belong in whatever job or career they choose. It is important to address these issues so that we can work towards a more equitable, and inclusive society for all individuals, regardless of their gender.”

The bold idea

See Her Potential is a two-hour interactive performance and workshop for young girls held in schools to empower them to know their worth and see their potential career opportunities.

It will tell the stories of six incredible historic women from all over the world whilst intertwining key messages about gender stereotypes, societal bias, discrimination and harassment.

The workshop is designed to equip the young girls with confidence-building skills, get them talking about their futures and seeing all of the different paths their careers could take. Funding will enable the session to be offered to schools for free or at a subsidised fee.

The vision is to change girls’ perceptions of themselves, provide resources that give them the confidence to pursue their interests and passions, and to recognise the potential they have to make a positive impact in the world.

“My big vision for this project is that the show will leave a lasting impression on young girls’ lives and transform the way they see their futures.”

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