“You can’t be what you can’t see”. Edwina Dunn, Founder, The Female Lead
Despite huge advances, in 2020 we are far from living in an equal and inclusive world. That said, Wakefield Girls’ High School students are aware of how much progress towards gender equality has been made in the western world, and how lucky they are to be girls and women here. Indeed, the benefits of a girls-only education certainly helps to prepare the next generation of women - #generationequality - to dare to be different, ask for help, find strength in setbacks, stay curious and feed their passions. My students challenge stereotypes and celebrate each other's achievements, amongst many other things and this makes me immensely proud.
Yet this isn’t the case around the world and it certainly does not translate in the world of work. Indeed, when faced with the following facts (source: LeanIn), I find the lack of equality rather sobering:
Therefore, the theme for International Women's Day 2020 is #EachforEqual seems very apt as the campaign recognises that gender equality is not something that we should only be thinking about on certain days of the year. Whilst the specific challenges may be different around the world, the heart of what we all want to achieve and what we are fighting for is the same. It is our job as educators and role models to help equip the next generation with the tools to find their voice and take on these challenges, filled with purpose to make a real difference in the world. So today, in assembly, I addressed the positive use of social media. Our world is more connected than ever before and people use their social media voice to allow us to learn more about the work and campaigns of fearless pioneers in other parts of the world than ever before. This in turn, inspires and motivates us all to stand up for what we believe in.
I asked all students with access to social media to reflect on who they follow, the reasons for this choice and how it enhances their daily life. I then challenged them to follow at least 2 inspirational people over this half term and next. I want them to transform their feeds with new and inspiring profiles then see how their outlook, behaviour and attitude changes. This is after The Female Leads’ extensive study revealed that multiple positive outcomes result from the introduction of new, diverse and positive female role models into the social media feeds of young people.
Your daughters each have a vision that is personal and local to their own communities, yet is global in its reach and ambition. I know they will challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate the achievements of others, standing up for not only girls but people everywhere, striving for equality for all.