It is our absolute pleasure for our first #ThisNorthernGirlCan interview of 2018 to be with this young woman. She is just 16 years old and extremely vocal about her opinions and passions. She is definitely one to watch.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself
A. I am Abigail Charlton and I work as a member of the UK Youth Parliament for Newcastle and on the Newcastle Youth Council. I am also studying to sit my GCSEs this summer.
Q. What have you loved about growing up in the North?
A. It is so lively and vibrant. I love the parks and the environment we have. I also love going to see Fenwick’s window in Newcastle every Christmas but of course that’s a seasonal occasion. There’s always something new to do in the North.
Q. Do you have any challenges growing up in the North?
A. Having a passion for politics is so hard at times in the North. You are so far from everything that’s happening, so far from all the goings on. It’s often difficult to stay persistent as you are so outspoken and overlooked compared to those further south and around the capital. Where we can barely find the money to fund youth services those in London are getting an entire new tube line. It is difficult to stay determined and loud when you’re 300 miles away from Parliament and the decision makers running this country.
Q. Have you or do you face any challenges being female?
A. I’m lucky that I’ve grown up around people who look past my gender. The people I am around see me as the person I am rather than the gender I am, but I do understand that I am incredibly lucky to have this experience. Sexism is a vile plague which still survives within our society though I like to believe we are slowly defeating it.
Q. What or who inspired your journey to where you are now?
A. I had two amazing teachers at my primary school who always made me feel like if I wanted to do something and I put the work in I could do it. My parents have also been so supportive and inspiring. The way they brought me up to value self-development and engaging in what you want to learn really pushed me to try and say yes to as much as possible. Through saying yes to as much as possible I have been given all the opportunities that got me to where I am today.
Q. What advice would you to give to girls growing up in the North?
A. If you want something go and get it. If you want to join a sports club go and join it. If you want to get involved in the school council go and stand for election. Believe in your own ability to achieve and succeed because once you have set your mind to something no one can stop you.
Q. How do you think we can encourage more young people about the importance of gender equality?
A. From a young age stop the perpetuation of ideas such as “girl jobs” and “boy jobs”. Tell girls and boys the importance of equality.
Q. Tell us some of your favourite Northern places.
A. Northumberlandia, Cragside, Durham Cathedral, Morpeth.
Q. Who are your favourite Northern people (alive or dead?)
A. Earl Grey….for gracing me with such amazing tea and Lord Armstrong.
Q. Explain your love of the North in one sentence.
A. Even when it’s bitterly cold, raining and I am not wearing enough layers I still love this place I call home.
If you want to be become part of our growing #ThisNorthernGirlCan movement then you can join over 1,1oo like minded women and men in our Facebook group. We’d love to see you there!