It has been fascinating to read the BBC’s list of Inspiring Women for 2015 which was published before Christmas. The list features 100 amazing women from across the world who have made a real difference in a whole range of ways. The BBC chose to focus the list on octogenarians sharing life lessons, film makers discussing expectations and pressure in their field, nursing, five high-profile women and ’30 under 30 entrepreneurs’.
This March we will be celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) and in school we will be focusing on the ‘women who inspire us’. IWD has been observed since the 1900’s, over a century ago, going from strength to strength over that time. We welcomed more than 100 girls to our year 7 Entrance Exam last Friday which despite the assessments in the morning saw girls by the end of the day leave us happy and smiling having made new friends and enjoyed a fun afternoon working together to create the tallest tower, using just a few items such as straws, a paper plate, a sheet of A3 paper and a roll of stickytape; quite a challenge! These girls are in a world very different from when the first International Women’s Day took place but I had no doubt looking round the room that they will become some of our inspiring women of the future. Many of the girls in 6-2 have already received offers from their university choices and the huge range of courses and locations reflect the diverse passions and talents of the girls as they go off to make their mark on the world.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Pledging for Parity!’ so I have chosen five British women from the BBC’s Inspiring Women list to share with you who have made a difference in accelerating gender parity in their field.
Writer, broadcaster and columnist, Clare Fox is the Director of the Institute of Ideas. Clare set this up in order to challenge “established orthodoxies” and the Institute organises public debates on controversial topics. Clare took part in the BBC ‘Is media failing women?’ debate.
Alice Gray, graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc in Neuroscience in 2013 and has been blogging ever since. Her blog, mind-ful.blogspot.co.uk, discusses issues which women face in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. She aims to improve the number of women in the industry .
Dame Tina Lavender, is one of the world’s top experts in midwifery, specialising in the management of prolonged labour and the use of the partograph – a tool designed to help midwives monitor births. She acts as an advisor to the World Health Organisation and developed a board game designed to increase the use of the tool in Africa.
Jessy McCabe, Jessy is in her final year of school and is currently studying for her A Levels in music, maths and history. After realising she was not studying even one female composer as part of her music A Level, she successfully petitioned the largest exam board in the UK to change the syllabus.
Baroness Patricia Scotland is currently Britain’s trade envoy to South Africa, a barrister and was former UK attorney general. She was appointed Britain’s first black female Queen’s Counsel in 1991 and is the founder of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence.
Last but by no means least, Sophie Walker is the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, a new collaborative force in British politics, which believes women should enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men. She worked as an international news agency journalist for nearly 20 years and is also an ambassador for the National Autistic Society, campaigning for better support and understanding of autism, particularly in women and girls.
I leave you with a quote from the International Women’s Day website from world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
Mrs Jo Fitzroy-Ezzy, Development Director