"The Female Lead" – for the women of today and of tomorrow

"The Female Lead" – for the women of today and of tomorrow

If you don’t know who Edwina Dunn is, you should. Edwina is one of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs within retail, co-founder of Dunnhumby and overall, a true cool and strong woman. As a woman in business, she certainly knows the struggle that millions of women experience everyday: to break free of stereotypes and empower women, one step at a time.

The truth that Dunn exposes in her book, “The Female Lead” is the reality of 21st century women. Despite the progress that’s been made, women are still expected to fit certain standards: balancing being mothers, wives/partners, working women with blow-dries, manicures and high heels.

Jessica Vince interviews Edwina in her article for Harper’s Bazaar (read it here), altogether with picking out 7 icons from the book.


In the article, Vince and Dunn talk about role models and young girls. One quote is particularly striking: “I know I shouldn’t be modelling myself on the Kardashians, but who else do I look up to?”.

Now, let’s get things straight. There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with the Kardashians (see what I did there?), after all they are successful and powerful women, entrepreneurs and mothers. But, unfortunately, a lot of the press is more concerned about whether they have gained weight, how they dress and how they look.


And that is where the problem is. Women are rarely celebrated for what they do, not just what they look like when doing it. Dunn’s book is all about celebrating remarkable women, which are not keeping quiet about their success, their struggles and their failures.

Edwina’s message is simple: to create a culture full of role models and inspirational women, to show young girls that you can (and should) always aim for more.


Here is a selection of quotes from the wonderful women included in “The Female Lead”.

  •  Meryl Streep: "Stay curious"

"It was my imagination that took me out of my circumstances and enabled me to understand the lives of other people in a way I found thrilling…I didn't always want to be an actor. I thought I wanted to be a translator at the UN and help people understand each other. In a way, that's what I'm trying to do as an actress – to get deep into someone else's life, to understand what made them feel the way they did and compelled them to move in one direction or the other…. what interests me, and what interests the actors I admire most, is to understand something about yourself and other people."

  • Jo Malone: "Ask for help"

"You want to be a success in business, you want to be a success in school? You have to make it happen. There will always be people around you that can assist you and help you. The more passion they see in you and the more resilience, the more you'll find people to gather around you because people love to be around people who make things happen."

  • Mhairi Black: "Feed your passions"

"I think it's good to try things and, if you're good at them, to keep going and see how far you get. I've always thought that, no matter what job I ended up doing, it would be working with people because that's what I enjoy. Inequality of any kind is the thing that really drives me. I always look at who's losing out and why. Everything that I am interested in, be it foreign affairs or welfare reforms or LBGT issues, boils down to the fact that there's an injustice happening somewhere".


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