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March 8, 2021
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate and thank all the females within our InterHigh community – from our senior leadership team, and staff through to our students, parents and the wider team. Every single person in school community brings something special to the team, helping us champion diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment to help every individual achieve to the very best of their abilities.
As part of this, we spoke to several of our students and staff about their experiences as females growing up and what their hopes for women around the world are. Here is what they had to say…
There is one incident that stands out to me from several years ago; I was told I could not borrow a certain book from the library as it was a “boys’ book” and was promptly redirected to the young adult romance section. I was only 10 or 11 at the time and felt far too awkward to challenge the teacher who said that to me.
It would have been really easy to back down in that situation and not read the book – I was outright forbidden from checking it out of the library. But in doing that I’d just make it easier for another expectation to be pushed onto me. Instead of asking me how I felt, they spoke for me and tried to decide who I should be, calling my (predominantly male) friend group silly for suggesting it to me.
Despite this, I ended up managing to read the book anyway and adored it, but I know for a fact that boys were not challenged when selecting their own books.
Looking back, it’s a very tiny incident compared to some of the inequalities in the world, but it was my first real experience with these kinds of double standards.
If I were to say anything about the situation, it would probably be related to challenging myself. At that moment, when the teacher took me to put the book back and pick out a different one which I had no interest in, it would have been easy to give in. But I put aside that anxiety and that fear of rocking the boat because I knew that it wasn’t just a “boys’ book”. It was a ‘me’ book, one that I wanted to read, not because boys recommended it, but because friends recommended it.
The theme of International Women’s Day this year is ‘Choose to Challenge’. As a science teacher at InterHigh this struck a chord with me; we know that females are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) occupations and careers. In fact, recent reports suggest they make up only 14 per cent of all those working in STEM in the UK.
This is certainly something to be challenged.
I am proud of the strong STEM programmes we have at InterHigh in which all students are encouraged to enjoy and develop confidence in these important areas. Our STEM projects incorporate practical, real life themes which help our students understand the purpose of what they’re learning and how it can be applied in practice. For example, through our ‘Secret Science of the Movies’ project, students explore principles such as scale models and green screen technology. The ‘Symmetry’ project brings mathematical principles to areas of architecture and design.
Now is the time to come together and challenge the issues we face in society – including a greater female representation within the STEM sector. Through our continued efforts and inspiring activities which open students’ eyes to all the possible job opportunities, I am hopeful that many of them will be encouraged to pursue studies and careers in the STEM subjects in the future.
As a Hindu, I have been taught that women come in various forms – a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a warrior, a fighter, a giver, a goddess.
Therefore, we must champion and celebrate one another; all women must awaken our inner ‘Parashakti’ which means all-pervasive, pure consciousness, power, and primal substance of all that exists. Only then will we successfully challenge misconceptions and stereotypes and become the woman we want to be, rather than being women defined by what others tell us.
I am proud to work for the UK’s leading online school. I love having the opportunity to work with a global community of students. Pupils produce work in such creative ways, and they are incredible at using technology. Watching pupils that live in different countries collaborating on a task/project is just amazing. My primary pupils are currently working on a project about terraforming Mars and it is so rewarding to see how much they have enjoyed designing their own payload landing structures, filming their test drops, and making their own mini biospheres. They are so excited that the Perseverance rover has landed on Mars and many of them want to become astronauts!
We believe that every single individual has the potential to achieve great things, and this should never be determined by gender, ethnicity, age or culture. Our younger generation are the key to our future success and so it’s important to celebrate events such as International Women’s Day. This way we can champion the many efforts we as women have achieved, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
We will continue to inspire all of our children and the wider community at Wey Education and ensure everyone feels comfortable, confident and inspired to fulfil their potential.
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