This year we ran our second annual Equality Week – run last year under the title of Women’s Week. We were delighted to see it grow and be even more successful than last year! With a wonderful and dedicated group of 15 Lower Sixth students at the helm, they put together a week of events around the theme of equality, exploring topics and issues that were important to them which included highlighting icons of the LGBTQ+ community, toxic masculinity and women in the workplace. This variety of topics made for an exciting week packed with lots of different events for students of all ages.
BBC Sport broadcaster Eleanor Oldroyd spoke to parents and students about being a woman at work and the challenges she has faced in her career, particularly in such a male-dominated field, as well as the triumphs and the steps towards equality that she is now seeing. A balloon debate about women in power saw Jacinda Ardern battle it out against Gloria Steinem and Halide Edib Adivar, and a competition about LGBTQ+ role models informed everyone of some names and faces that have for too long gone uncelebrated. Two particularly stand-out events were the returning panel of male staff members who discussed the pressures placed on men by toxic masculinity and a panel of St Helen’s fathers who gave some great insights into the world of work for women from a male perspective, including how men should be helping women to achieve all they can and how women can help themselves to reach their full potential in their careers. Another highlight was the Equality Week video produced by two members of Lower Sixth, which shows the unfortunate realities of the inequality in our society as well as what equality means to members of the school community and their hopes for the future.
For myself and Naomi, who started this event last year, it has been a delight to see our enthusiasm for the project reflected back to us this year, not only in the Lower Sixth committee but also from across the school community. I know that we are both looking forward to hearing about Equality Week in years to come and very much hope that it will continue to grow!