A quick scan of google news articles using the search term 'Women in Industry UK' – reveals a repetitive set of themes – gender pay gaps, need for female role models, greater awareness of STEM subjects and better representation of women. The UK Writers Guide blasts the lack of diversity, only 14% of primetime scripted TV in the UK is written by women. Even the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) - a volunteer-run charity which has been recording public sculpture across the UK for three decades, found that of the 828 statues it had recorded, only 174 of them were female which is around one in five.

From construction, to mining, aquaculture, technology, digital and the energy sector – the themes are unfortunately the same.

So where are our female role models and how can we create more to inspire the current and next generation of women?

As a county, we are not doing too badly. A Cumbrian branch of Women in Nuclear was launched in March to help tackle the issue of only 22% of the nuclear workforce being women. A celebration of Cumbrian Farm Women finishes this week at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal – which is part of the wider Celebrating Women of Cumbria creative project involving 11 museums. We also have several high-profile women such as Dr Donna Connor, Head of Education and Skills at Sellafield Ltd, who founded the Sellafield Women’s Network in 2014 to support the progression of women in the nuclear industry and Isabelle Maddock, Group Finance Director for James Cropper one of only three stockmarket-listed businesses with an HQ in Cumbria. Then of course there is Beatrix Potter, Helen Skelton and Catherine Parr - the last of Henry VIII's six wives, and an excellent example of Cumbria's strong-willed, outspoken and fair-minded womenfolk.

But there is still room for improvement. At the end of the month (29th of June), the employment support sector will celebrate the third annual Employability Day which is organised by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA). The aim of the day is to celebrate and acknowledge the work the employment support sector does to help move people towards, into or to progress in work, which has a big impact on our local communities and on people's lives. As Brexit approaches, it is also important we use Employability Day to highlight the success of European Social Fund (ESF) programmes and the need for a world-leading successor.

On Employability Day we will be celebrating schemes like the Enterprise Adviser Network, which is funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company in association with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and delivered by Inspira. The Network is an excellent example of how women can become role models as the premise behind the scheme is to ensure employer engagement activities are embedded into every Cumbrian school's curriculum.

Volunteer Enterprise Advisers (people drawn from the business community) help educational institutions to strategically plan employer engagement activities that help to inspire Cumbrian young people. To compliment these activities, Enterprise Advisers need the help of other business leaders to provide opportunities and to get involved in skills fairs, mock interview experiences and work experience options. Cumbria's female role models can get involved in both aspects of the Network –

helping young women to understand and consider a wide range of career options, some of which are in male dominated industries or careers.

However, it is not just our young females who we should be inspiring, Cumbria has a large number of women who are looking to return to work post family or being a carer. Research has found that increasing the number of women in work by just five per cent could create £750m extra in tax revenue for the UK. For Cumbria this focus could also have a very real and positive impact on our economy, representation of women across all industries and the post Brexit world.

If you are interested in getting involved in Employability Day on the 29th of June, search #empday18 or email [email protected] for more info.