Bow School

Buckingham Palace Visit

Buckingham Palace Visit

On International Women’s Day, Wednesday 8th March 2017, twenty students from KS3 attended the WOW (Women of the World) festival at the Southbank Centre which examined the obstacles that can prevent women and girls from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world.  WOW is one of Southbank Centre’s flagship festivals. Launched in 2011, it is a global festival in which people of all ages and backgrounds can celebrate the achievements of girls and women. The event provided information and raised awareness of modern societal challenges for women, with talks and debates, music and performance, parties, a marketplace, networking and much more, the festival brought together women and men to speak about how they are making the world a fairer place and why it matters.

Students from Bow attended sessions that empowered women and girls to become social activists and become a political titan in a rapidly shifting world. Topics included the threat against women’s rights and protections, what climate change means for women, the role of men in gender equality and the stark rates of violence against women. Students also participated in Maria Ferguson’s ‘Fat Girls don’t Dance’ session which challenged the stereotype of what a female dancer should look like as well as exploring society’s expectations of women, focusing on outward appearance rather than achievements.

Also on that day, Executive Head teacher Cath Smith and two students, Siham Ahmed 7C and Ocean Scott 7H (who both achieved the Gold Award) were invited to a reception hosted by the President of WOW, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the WOW 2017 festival. This was an amazing opportunity for the girls to meet some of the most powerful and influential women working in the UK now. Arriving at the same time as the Changing of the Guards Ceremony meant that the band was playing and the soldiers parading and it was as if our girls were being welcomed to the Palace personally. They certainly felt very privileged to walk past many tourists taking photographs in order to gain entry to Buckingham Palace and then to walk up the red-carpeted stairs to a very grand reception room to meet so many great women.  There were only three other school girls there – from Mulberry School for Girls - and everyone else was adult, successful and famous!  

Amongst those the girls spoke to was Cherie Booth, CBE – the wife of ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair – who told them her inspirational story about how she became one of the Queen’s Counsels (QC) and a very successful lawyer. The girls were also able to speak to Baroness Karen Brady, CBE from the Apprentice who is also Vice Chair at West Ham Football Club.  The Duchess of Cornwall asked them about their aspirations for their futures and encouraged them to believe in their dreams.  Jude Kelly, CBE the founder of Women of the World (in the red jacket standing next to the Duchess in the photograph) had certainly arranged some truly excellent and inspirational events for WOW.

An incredible time was had by all, demonstrated by Ocean and Siham’s comments below:

Ocean Scott (7H): Amazingly beautiful! Inside the palace was incredible. We all had to give in our phones, coats and bags and there was a lot of stairs. We couldn’t believe our eyes.  The palace was full of beautiful paintings - my favourite one was ‘The Ship in the Storm at Sea’. My favourite part was meeting the Duchess of Cornwall and travelling to Buckingham Palace.

Siham Ahmed (7C): I was invited to attend the annual WOW (Women of the World) event that took place at Buckingham Palace. Many powerful women from across the globe came together to celebrate. We met with the Duchess of Cornwall and she asked us a few questions. It was a strange experience because it is not every day you get to go to Buckingham Palace and meet a Royal. It was fun.

Ms Rahman

 Embracing Diversity – The Bow Way