International Women’s Day on March 8 didn’t go unrecognised at Coulsdon College.  Students were encouraged in tutor groups to discuss the theme for this year, ‘Pledge for Parity’.  The day highlights the importance of creating conditions for the elimination of discrimination against women and for their full and equal participation in social development.

Four Coulsdon College students were invited to attend a round table discussion between young women and women in public life, including senior civil servants from the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office.   Jessica Hann was one of them.  “It was brilliant, I’m really glad I went along. The speakers were all very inspiring and it was really interesting to see how they all had such different backgrounds, upbringings and paths but have all become very successful women, despite the hurdles they may have faced along the way. It has definitely encouraged me to take all opportunities which are given to me and to make sure I always give things ago, even if at first it seems a challenge.”

Karyn Storey also enjoyed her day.  “We learnt that there’s a wide range of professions within the civil service and that we should consider them when looking a job. We also learnt that many of the panel members didn’t have a straightforward career path and we could expect the same in our futures, but as long as we work hard, take opportunities and embrace change then we should be successful in whatever walk of life we choose. The speakers were great role models and it has fuelled me to be a better role model to my peers and to fight for further equality.”

Jeanette Gilbert, Coulsdon College Associate Principal added, “It was a really useful day.  Delegates were encouraged to consider what their priorities are as they embark on their career journey and what they think the challenges and opportunities will be from a personal and professional perspective.”

Meanwhile, back at College, staff in the ILC (Independent Learning Centre) produced a display of pictures and quotes from inspiring and powerful women, including Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yosafzai and Britain’s first female Prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.  Groups of female students and staff were persuaded to have their photographs taken in between the displays, encouraging them to relate to the other, more famous names and faces on display.

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