Suffrage Centenary - International Women's Day
As a school we pride ourselves in the knowledge that we celebrate the achievements of women as well as acting as a catalyst for change when it comes to gender equality … every day all year round. 2018 is an extremely significant year for women (and actually for everyone). This year we celebrate the Suffrage Centenary marking 100 years since some women were given the right to vote in the UK. By 1928 all women could vote in the UK.
Another significant date is International Women's Day on 8 March - a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The whole school joined together to celebrate women and girls and learn about the challenges girls and women faced 100 years ago, and are still facing today.
Trip to Parliament - Friday 9th February 2018
To understand the significance of the Suffrage Centenary, Year 8 students visited the Houses of Parliament. Students were given a tour which started with a 15 minute, 360 degree high production film taking them through key events in the changing history of UK Parliament. The tour gave students the opportunity to reflect on what the UK Parliament of the future might look like and how they could contribute to that change. Many of the students were surprised to find out about the differences between the House of Commons and the House of Lords - the most interesting fact being Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II is not permitted to enter the House of Commons.
The group explored the Palace of Westminster and learnt about the work of Parliament today. One of the most important messages of the day being that the students could contribute to the decision making process at government level by engaging in politics and having an active interest in current affairs.
The Bow’s Got Talent Art students were set a challenge to create a piece of Art celebrating the Suffrage Centenary. The winner of the challenge received a copy of the book ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls ‘by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli. The book reinvents fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 heroic women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Zeynep Yalcin, Y7 provided the winning entry.
An important day in the calendar for the world and very much so for Bow School. We had an extremely successful Drop Day on International Women’s Day – the theme of which was #pressing for progress. Students and teachers went away inspired, empowered and ready to make change. Staff and students took pledges on how they would press for progress.
WOW Festival (Women of the World) - Southbank Centre - Thursday 8th March
The Women of the World (WOW) Festival takes place every year on International Women’s Day. The festival celebrates women and girls and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. Southbank Centre's WOW – Women of the World festival is a global network of festivals that provide a platform for celebrating what has been achieved, exploring all the ways we can change the world for the better.
Around the world, individuals and communities are insisting on the simple proposition that women and girls must have equal rights and asking the question: Why is gender equality taking so long?
In 2018 (the year that marks the 100th anniversary since some women got to vote in the UK) and when #MeToo shook the world, artists, writers, politicians, comedians, activists and more were bought together for the 8th annual WOW London at Southbank Centre.
Students at Bow School were invited to the Festival - a day where icebreakers included dancing, motivational song writing, learning about the Suffragette movement, looking back at history and also current affairs related to women.
Students learnt about how inequality exists in the retail industry and of successful campaigns where retailer’s reversed unfair pricing of products aimed at women. Sadly, though, we still find inequality every day and sexism, even when we are shopping.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined the WOW festival, sharing the fact that he was proud to be a feminist and strongly believed in standing up for women’s rights.
The day ended with a party celebrating girls and women.
Trip to AKTII, Engineering and Women Friday 16th March
Did you know…
Fewer than one in 10 engineers in the UK are female - the lowest percentage in Europe, according to the Women's Engineering Society. Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%.
… So how can we increase the number of women pursuing a career in Engineering and other STEM fields?
As a school we strongly believe in encouraging girls from an early age to explore their interests in the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) fields, and give them the support to pursue it as a career. Young girls can be equipped with the necessary tools to be excited about and successful in these fields.
Y9 girls were invited to AKT II on Friday 16th March. AKT II is a London-based structural, civil and façade engineering consultancy internationally recognised as being innovative and award-winning. Students came away with an understanding of what structural engineering is and also explored academic and career paths into Engineering.
With the help of AKTII’s structural engineers, students designed and built bridges which had to meet certain criteria. The bridges were then tested to see how much load they could withstand.
A really successful trip with many students coming away wanting to study DT (Design Technology) or DEC (Design, Engineering and Construction) as a GCSE option.
Trip to the National Education Union’s Challenging Sexism in Sexism in Schools Conference - Saturday 17th March
Alongside staff, students at Bow are working at the forefront of tackling sexism through an approach that empowers teachers and students to call out and respond to sexism through campaign work. A group of students from across the whole school Y7 to Y13 attended the National Education Union’s Challenging Sexism in Schools Conference. Students heard from speakers from the National Education Union, Institute of Education and practitioners who talked about the innovative work they have done to create change with young people to address sexism and sexual harassment in schools. Students came away inspired after attending the Workshops, including: empowering young people to challenge sexism, challenging sexism with boys, looking at how gender stereotyping can be so damaging not only to girls but boys, body image, fitness and mental health, girls and STEM.
The English Department have been learning about ‘Heroes’, with a focus on women who are, on many occasions, forgotten or not celebrated for their achievements. Esemena Etefia, from 7W wrote a tribute to Emmeline Pankhurst.
‘I would rather be a rebel than a slave.’
Is it fair that certain people get to vote and the others don’t?
Is it fair that men are treated better than women?
A few days ago, the country celebrated 100 years of women being allowed to vote. Voting has changed many things: Donald Trump lives in the White House; the UK is leaving the European Union. But thanks to my hero, Emmeline Pankhurst, all the women in this country have a say in these vital decisions.
She was born in 1858 and raised in Manchester. As she grew older, she joined a women’s party, the famous Suffragettes. Emmeline stepped forward to become the leader and organised meetings in their local park. Despite this, men soon made it illegal.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a known troublemaker, who broke the law and was arrested on many occasions. Eventually, she wore a disguise to avoid getting arrested. To protest, the Suffragettes would chain themselves to railings and also campaign. The group of women closed down the Bryant and May factory. Girls worked fourteen hours a day and were fined for dropping matches. It wasn’t fair; however the girls soon changed that.
Later, Emmeline moved to Canada in 1922 as she felt the country had more equality than England. She died six years later, at the age of 70, in 1928.
Her house is now the Pankhurst Centre and she was buried at Brompton Cemetery.
Because of her, women have the right to vote.
Emmeline is gone but not forgotten.
Esemena Etefia, 7W