What is meaningful work? And how can we find it?

While a YouGov poll concluded that only 17% of British workers claim to love their job, a Conference Board 2023 survey saw that women are almost 4 points behind men in terms of job satisfaction. And what is it that holds women back from applying for a role they really want?  Women are less likely to apply for, and be recruited for jobs – is it a lack of confidence?  An often-quoted statistic is that men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the criteria, whereas women won’t apply unless they meet 100% of the criteria (Internal Hewlett Packard report).  

Our own Project Manager Nicki Brown had a particular story to tell: “As a young manager years ago, I was in a meeting where a male colleague said, “There’ll never be a woman on the board here.” I remember saying to him, “That must be so soul destroying, when you’re raising two daughters yourself, to know how limited women’s potential is.” And I wonder what it is that makes us feel that we have to be 100% perfect, and meet every single criteria, compared to men? Actually, we’ve got incredible experience and unique skill sets. We need a balance of the feminine and masculine in all organisations.”

Men are more likely to be vocal and leave when they’re not satisfied at work – whereas women are more likely to accept unsatisfactory circumstances.  Perhaps this is due to a lack of confidence. Or, maybe because girls are socialised to be ‘good’, not to complain, not to ask for too much.  So women become people pleasers, who won’t rock the boat, or demand better work.   Women are 14% less likely to receive a promotion – even though we’re asking for them more than before – and women who are passed over for a promotion are 35% – 40% less likely to leave than male employees. 

So what can we do to change this? How about we start young – much like the work we do in Girls Journeying Together or Girls’ Net – educating girls from a young age to find their voice and stand up for themselves. And as adults, it’s also about recognising when we slip into habitual patterns – where fear stops us from standing up for ourselves, as we don’t want to seem rude, or cause a scene or get into trouble. Let’s be inspired by our male counterparts who may not think twice before they pitch an idea in a meeting, or forget to ask how someone’s weekend was in an email.A lot of it is about daring. Daring to dream big, daring to ask for more in your life. Daring to search for the feeling of being excited to jump out of bed in the morning – rather than settling for a life that feels safe, but doesn’t light you up.

Kim, our Founder-Director, commented: “If you play small, you feel powerless. As it is often our light, not our darkness that frightens us the most… It’s the fear of the unknown, the fear of success, that can hold women back from going after their big dreams. But the truth is,  daring to show up, take risks, and “play big” feels better than you think.” 


We asked some of our Facilitators: “How has having meaningful work and a sense of purpose had an impact on your life?”

Sara Newton, a facilitator in Sussex, said: “The training has offered me friendship and a passionate career, and now I feel part of a sisterhood. I feel I belong. It’s also given me a chance to deeply reflect on what it means to be a woman; consider my own story, and get to know myself much better. I feel more confident and articulate now about speaking up for ourselves, no matter our gender, age or background.”

Jess Shaw, who facilitates groups in Winchester, added:

“I have gained fulfilling work and finally somewhere I can use the much undervalued skills of empathy, compassion and intuition. It has made a difference to the relationships with my children and husband and started me on a path to healing parts of myself that I didn’t know needed it.”



Feedback from participants of the Facilitator Training, who are now leading Girls Journeying Together groups, demonstrates its capacity to enrich and transform the lives of women and girls. 

“The training highlighted how much this work is needed – it’s something to do if you really want to make a difference to the lives of girls and their mothers in your local community,” says Sophie Beaupain, who facilitates a GJT group in south-west London. 

“As a mother I think this work is so important for girls,” says Maggie Rivron, who leads a group near Hereford. “It’s helped me to be a better mother, and I can see how it’s really helped the girls. All girls need this, I really feel that. It needs to grow, It needs to get out there.”  

Charlotte Sarre, a facilitator from south-east London, says: “If there is any part of you that sees yourself doing this work, then do it. It’s priceless.”


We are launching our new Facilitator Training in June 2024. This is a unique opportunity to become involved in pioneering work with preteen girls, led by Kim and Helena. If you would like to find a deeper purpose, join a community of women supporting girls and their mothers in making the transition from girl to woman, and become the woman that you needed when you were 11, the next free webinar for further information will be on Tuesday 19th March. Girls Journeying Together groups offer a year of monthly support for preteen girls as they practice being true to themselves, learn about puberty, share their hopes and fears, and help each other into their teens. Women can acquire the skills and knowledge to deliver year-long Girls Journeying Together groups and become affiliated to a professional association.

Sign up for the next webinar here: 


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