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British mums outshine stars

Mothers across the UK are more inspirational than female celebrities, according to new research by British Gas.

The survey findings of 4,675 UK adults were delivered as the nation’s largest energy provider launched the search to find the UK’s most exceptional women for the 2013 Inspirational Women of the Year Awards, held in association with Shelter.

Asked about the woman that had inspired them the most, over a third (39%) of adults in the UK said that it was a female family member, compared to four per cent who said it was a female celebrity.

Olympic swimming champion and British Gas Ambassador, Becky Adlington, says the recognition for female family members is pleasantly surprising and demonstrates women are stars within their own families.

“It’s great to see our personal heroes recognised for all their hard work and dedication to their families, which is why they’ve come out on top for inspiration.

“My mother inspired me to work hard whilst dedicating so much of her time to help me pursue my dream, which is why she’s the most inspirational person in my life.”

Mothers are the most inspirational within the family

More than three quarters (78%) of adults surveyed agreed that their mother had inspired them throughout their lifetime. But less than one in five (14%) said female celebrities are an inspiration to UK adults and children.

Kindness is more inspirational than popularity or financial success

When asked what three qualities were most inspiring in a woman, adults put kindness, intelligence and hard work at the top of the list. Popularity was the least admired trait, and only five per cent named financial and business success as an inspirational quality.

The UK is lacking in female role models

The research found that over three quarters (79%) of adults surveyed agreed there is a lack of inspirational female role models in the UK.

Lack of recognition for female role models

As well as recognising the lack of role models, the majority of adults (85%) surveyed believe that inspirational men are more likely to receive more recognition than women.

32% of men in the UK have been inspired more by men than women. Conversely 27% of women have been inspired more by women than men.

Shining a light on the UK’s inspirational women

Sponsored by British Gas for the first time, the seventh annual Inspirational Women of the Year Awards will recognise ordinary women who are achieving extraordinary things and inspiring others through their leadership, courage, determination and triumph.

Last year’s programme recognised a host of incredible women, including mother-of-four Shelley Gilbert from London, who won the prestigious title for her years of charitable work. Shelley set up counselling charity Grief Encounter in 2003 and was nominated by Kevin Wells, father of murdered schoolgirl Holly, for the support she gave his family.

From thousands of entries, judges will handpick five finalists who will be invited to attend a reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by Samantha Cameron and followed by a charity gala on 11 November. All proceeds raised will be donated to British Gas’s charity partner Shelter, the largest homelessness charity in England and Scotland. The prize for the 2013 Inspirational Woman of the Year is a luxury break to the value of £5,000.

Speaking about the awards, Anna Filipopoulos, HR Director for British Gas, said: “Many people draw inspiration from the women they know in everyday life, whether a friend, a colleague or a member of their family. However, our research shows that people in the UK believe that inspirational women do not always get the recognition they deserve.

“Both men and women agree that there is a lack of inspirational female role models in the UK. That’s why we are looking for examples of those women across the UK who work hard to help and encourage others around them. We want to hear your stories of ordinary women who achieve extraordinary things.”

She continued: “At British Gas, many of our 30,000 employees regularly help out in their local community with charities, sports clubs and community groups. As Britain’s biggest energy provider, we felt it was important to recognise contribution of inspirational women in the communities that we work in, and we’re delighted to be sponsoring the awards, which will also benefit our charity partner, Shelter.”

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb, said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this year’s Inspirational Women of the Year awards with British Gas, and to play a part in offering Britain’s most inspirational women the recognition they deserve.

“Shelter provides support to over three million people each year who are struggling with bad housing and homelessness, and the money raised from this year’s event will help us to continue our vital work keeping a roof over the heads of families in need.”


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