The first week back at School after lockdown saw a range of events taking place to mark International Women’s day 2021. Starting with assemblies led by Upper Sixth members of the International Men’s and Women’s committee, pupils have learnt about the progress that women have made over the last century on the journey to equality as well the areas in which inequality is still present in today’s society. Wednesday we joined together from around the school to listen to the inspiring Anna McLean, a former DC Squirrels pupil, talk about her incredible achievement of completing the ‘world’s toughest row’ of 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean with her brother. The pair founded the movement of #SameBoat to demonstrate the importance of gender equality and to challenge gender stereotypes. Anna’s talk was superbly engaging, and hearing her story of courage, strength and bonkers ambition was an inspiration to all! The charity that they did this in support of was UN Women, the same charity that on Friday we had a collection for and ‘wear something purple’ day in support of.

With the IWD 2021 #ChooseToChallenge campaign in mind, pupils also took part in the photo campaign with their hand held high to show solidarity with the movement. This has been accompanied by the inspirational women poll shared around school. With the aim of promoting current trailblazers and female pioneers, this poll has raised awareness of some of ground-breaking women inspiring young women all over the world. Nominees this year included Professor Sarah Gilbert, Gina Martin, Patrice Cullors and Amanda Gorman, with the winner announced as Kamala Harris for her history making achievements over the last year. We also held on Saturday a girls vs boys netball match in celebration of the week! This lived up to its promise of being a highly entertaining match and proved to be a light-hearted and brilliantly fun end to the week of celebrations.

It has been fantastic to see so much engagement and commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, celebrate the achievements of women and help forge an inclusive world. The key message of this year’s celebrations has been #ChooseToChallenge, and I hope that this week has succeeded in encouraging our generation to truly forge the agenda and make a difference for women of the present and girls of the future.