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October 26, 2011 / Anna Louie Sussman

Fashion model, nun or broke: Do UK women need more career options?

The BBC reports that a growing number of young women in the UK are becoming nuns. How big is that “growing number”? Fourteen, as of last year. But it makes for a juicy headline, especially when you can get a blonde catwalk model to talk about how she’d even give up partying for God. I am still struggling to come to terms with the idea that she was unable to fulfill her spiritual potential through runway modeling, but that appears to have been the case.

She also worked as a model, but for her it was an unfulfilling experience and left her thinking again about devoting her life to God.

“I went to castings, they always wanted me to do catwalk shows,” she says. “I remember after my first professional paid show, going home and feeling really empty. Feeling like ‘is that it’? ‘That’s not great as I thought it would be’.

“I love people and I love having a good time, but that’s not all there is.”

No, modeling is not all there is.  There’s also…every other profession in the world.

Or maybe not? A new report out from Girlguiding UK surveyed over 1,200 girls ages 11-21, and found that a majority of them are worried about finances and their career options when they graduate.  Most troublingly, a growing number – more than a fifth – are cutting their educations short because of financial problems.

Here are some interesting data points from the report:

  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of secondary school age girls are concerned about getting a job when they finish their education.
  • For those who plan to leave education and training at 18, more than one in five (22%) said this is because they cannot afford to study, up from just 8% in 2009.
  • 69% of girls and young women aged 11 to 21 named money as a main cause of stress in 2011, compared to 48% in 2010.

If the UK doesn’t get its act together, it may return to the days when the convent was a primary refuge for destitute women.

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