Being bold for change; International Women's Day 2017

As part of this year's International Women's Day celebrations we were lucky enough to be invited to an event organised by Northern Powerhouse Briefings, Inclusive Employers and Rullion. 

Four of our Year 10 girls went along with Mrs Kaur to see what the event could teach them. With a day of inspirational speakers ahead it was sure to be quite the experience. 

Caroline Pullich, Head of SME Yorkshire at Barclays kicked off the day with a talk on how times have changed and that  with women being just as likely to be the breadwinner, traditional gender roles are just not viable anymore. She talked about how it's important that big businesses, like Barclays, help support this change and the women who are now having a huge impact within our communities. 

Next was Wing Commander Sarah Maskell MBE, who spoke openly about her experience working within a male-dominated field (the RAF). But the resonating message within her talk was that regardless of where you find yourself, it's vital to always believe in yourself. Encouraging us to blow our own horns sometimes and make sure we communicate our achievements. 

Then organiser Sharon Pegg took to the podium showing us how important a personal brand is and that in everything we do there should be purpose. Her years as Head of Diversity and Inclusion have allowed her valuable insight into how we interact with people both online and offline has big consequences. A lot of what she talked about echoed the values we shared on Safer Internet Day

It was amazing to see the Year 10 girls interacting and networking with the speakers and attendees, asking mature and probing questions. Events like this are brilliant for helping our students interact with stories and people that they don't normally get to. It helps widen their view on what can be possible, and where a little bit of determination can take you. 

The Hunger Project Ambassador Gamiel Yafai then shared his childhood experience of seeing his mother as a strong female role model, and how this influenced him for the rest of his life. The Hunger Project provides women in impoverished villages all over the worlds with the skills and materials they need to completely reinvigorate their communities. The Hunger Project see women as the lifeblood of the communities, and encourage them to take a step out of their comfort zone for the benefit of themselves, their families, their neighbours and communities. 

Anne Foster is the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the House of Commons, and used this as the theme for her talk, that being 'common' is not a barrier for anything. She spoke about ordinary yet extra-ordinary women who live very normal lives but still manage to change the world for the better. 

Well known LGBTQI activist Jacqui Gavin explained the necessity of stories being told, and that through this we learn. She spoke passionately about how every story not only deserves, but needs to be told for the good of mankind. Providing the mantra...

"Our greatest strength is not what we do as individuals, but what we do together". 

Finally, newly elected MP Tracy Brabin took the stand. Tracy traced the history of International Women's Day back to the very start in 1908. Working her way through monumental events in womens' history that changed life as we know it. But what surprised our Year 10 girls the most was that when she got to the present day, there still seemed so much to be done. 

"I don't get it, why can't we just all be equal." Zina Year 10

The event was incredible and we are very grateful to have been invited. The campaign theme for this year's International Women's Day is Be Bold For Change, and one thing is for certain our girls came away embodying that message. 

They got to speak to Tracy Brabin about how they can 'be the change' in their school and communities. They learnt about how nothing is off limits just because you're a girl from Sarah Maskell MBE and see that women all over the world are being empowered through the Hunger Project. 

Thank you again to Northern Powerhouse Briefings, Inclusive Employers and Rullion for making such an amazing day possible. And thank you to everyone who spoke at the event for making it such an inspirational day. 

"I'm feeling so inspired, we can do anything"- Aleena Year 10

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