Edwina Dunn sits smiling and pointing into the camera. She has short blonde hair and is wearing a long cream cardigan and black pants.

Edwina Dunn: Founder of The Female Lead

The #SheInnovates stories team sat down with Edwina Dunn of The Female Lead to discuss the role of women in innovation. Get involved at She Innovates Global.

#SheInnovates Stories: Innovation is solving the world's problems. What problem are you solving?

Edwina Dunn: There is a lack of diverse female role models for the next generation. Young girls today should have the opportunity to see successful, innovative women from all walks of life across all sectors. We have an opportunity to show how women can shape the world, and by providing a platform and sharing the stories of amazing women, we can open young women’s eyes to a wider range of possibilities and inspirations to enable them to fulfill their potential.

#SheInnovates: When did you realize your innovation was a breakthrough?

ED: Since the launch of The Female Lead: Women Who Shape Our World, we have distributed the book for free to over 5000 schools across the UK and US. We have received some wonderful comments from students and have held events in conjunction with The Sunday Times and Disney (amongst others) where the feedback from the next generation has been positive and uplifting. We know that the stories in the book are inspiring people and showing them other options they might like to explore.

#SheInnovates: What were some unexpected obstacles you overcame in the innovation process?

ED: We prepared a data report that showed the top influencers for young people across social media. Whereas male influencers came from across all sectors including business, politics, literature, sport and religion, female influencers were mostly from an entertainment background – TV, social media or music. This means that girls are seeing a different landscape from boys in what or whom they choose to follow.

#SheInnovates: What inspires you to love your work?

ED: I have worked in data science for all my career – historically it has been a male-dominated industry and to see so many women coming into the industry is a source of great pride to me. I hope that by continuing to share my journey and the stories of other women, we can continue to see increased female representation across all industries.

#SheInnovates: What do you hope that young women coming behind you take from your work?

ED: I hope that the next generation see that they can push boundaries and exceed expectations and limitations – in whatever field they choose. We are redefining and broadening the concepts of ‘ambition’ and ‘success’, and we hope this gives younger generations, of all genders, the space to approach success on their own terms.

#SheInnovates: Why are women in innovation important?

ED: It is important for women to be represented fairly at all levels of business. Diversity in business is the key to continued growth.

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Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.