- ASGS International Women's Day Conference
- New Vacancies
- World Book Day 2020
- Dr Shola Inspires Students
- County Careers Fair 2020
- Awards Evening 2019
- Christmas Musical Events 2019
- House Drama 2019: Pandora's Box Sure is Heavy...
- Year 7 Celebration Tea Party
- Highsted Student's First Prize from Oxford
- Engineering Team Takes on Bomb Disposal
- Highsted Performs at the Glee Club Challenge
- Awards Evening 2018
- Review of Splendid Productions
- Christmas Musical Events
- House Drama 2018
- Highsted Hosts Swale Youth Forum
- Lower School Awards
- Summer Musical Production
- Imani Cheers for England
- Lessons from Auschwitz
- World Book Day 2018
- Mad Science Saturday 2018
- Annual Awards Evening
- Christmas Begins!
- House Drama Competition
- Year 8 Charity Bazaar
- Rachael is National Champion!
- Remembrance at Ypres
- Tea Party Supports Transition
- Mathletics at Highsted!
- Harvest Dreams for Food Bank
- Highsted Joins Mission CPR
- Annabel's Charity Challenge
- Funds for Demelza
- Class of 2017
- Nicola Secures Place at Top American University
Highsted Presents at ASGS Conference
Following on from the success of last year’s attendance at the ASGS (Association of State Girls’ Schools) Conference and the visit of Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu to Highsted in January 2020, Year 12 students were thrilled to be asked to not only participate but present their own workshop, Shake the Snow Globe, to other students from girls’ schools across the UK. The focus of the conference is to enable young women to recognise the challenges that still exist in the workplace and to work together to champion each other in overcoming them. Please read below the team’s response to the events of the day.
The first speaker was Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who is a New York Attorney and Solicitor of England and Wales as well as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Women in Leadership publication. She was a wonderful start to the morning, as there was the largest sense of energy that filled the room as soon as she walked in. She talked to us about confidence and beauty. She taught us that confidence isn’t an emotion, but it’s something you do. And that beauty is a standard of society that we shouldn’t be judged for and put ourselves down over. She filled the room with positivity and it was amazing to experience her light up the room with her own confidence.
Second, we had a talk from Ayla Goksel, who is the CEO of Özyeğin Social Investments. She told us about the theory of sliding door moments. Sliding door moments are opportunities in life where the decisions we make alter our very destiny. And this is what took Ayla to her inspiring job of working with children and mothers in Turkey, so the children get education, as well as teaching fathers better parenting. Her story of working with these children was heart-warming and truly inspiring.
Fiona Millar, an author, journalist and campaigner on education was next to talk to us about women’s non-linear lives and the struggle of balancing mothering and jobs. I think hearing Millar talk about her struggles to balance mothering her children and still wanting to work to get paid well, dealing with the double-burden she experienced with this was something we anticipate we will experience in the future - but seeing her so successful still was truly inspiring. She explained that although we don’t find our own lives inspiring because of our non-linear pathway in life, we more go forwards being adaptable and flexible and we can acquire the skills that we need in life.
In the afternoon, Eleanor Mills, Editorial director for The Sunday Times and Editor of Sunday Times Magazine, came to talk to us about women representation in the media. She linked this to the concept of ‘likeability’ which is the theory of that as girls, we want to be liked by everyone, and this holds us back from doing some things. One of my favourite quotes from the talk was, “Equality is not done, it’s a process,”,which really helped us wonder about what we can do in helping this progress further so the process is complete. Having the inside view from the media, she told us ridiculous stories of inequality headlines she’s been given or seen which are nowhere near the truth, and it was really interesting to be able to hear from someone in her position.
The last speaker of the day was Lucinda Montefiore, Producer of Women’s Hour. Lucinda’s talk was very different in comparison to the other speeches in that she talked about coping with mental health, which a lot of women and young women, especially, deal with. She introduced the concept of how ‘our brains are plastic,’ to help us understand that we can teach ourselves to catch our bad mental health habits and steer ourselves away from them. Similar to our own workshop, she touched on that - as women - we have the mindset to get everything perfect the first time, which was very relatable and helped us connect with what she was saying. Having her talk so openly about what she’s struggled with, but how she dealt with it, was deeply touching and inspiring and a nice positive way to end the day.
During the day, we were given the opportunity to deliver a workshop of our own to two groups of girls, aged between 15 and 18, from a range of schools in the UK. Although we felt this was initially a daunting prospect, through discussion, research and working together as a team, we came up with our forty-minute workshop Shake the Snow Globe, which we hoped would be engaging, interactive and promote action and critical thinking. The snow globe concept acted as an analogy for the depiction of women: as snow peacefully falls, creating a picture-perfect scene, the glass ceiling conceals society’s naivety to the under representation of women and barriers that can be broken down. Therefore, throughout our workshop, we encouraged everyone to metaphorically ‘shake the snow globe’ by being ‘brave, not perfect.’ Reshma Saujani’s book, Brave, Not Perfect, was a great source of inspiration during the preparation of our workshop, as depicted by the quotation, “…in other words, boys are taught to be brave, whilst girls are taught to be perfect.”
Equally, we covered a range of topics in-keeping with the theme of the day, including: global inequality; gendered media – particularly amongst young children; and gender stereotyping in careers. We explored these topic areas through our devised range of interactive activities, comprising of an initial ice-breaker, to discuss personal ambitions, a percentage game, where everyone got up out of their seats to arrange themselves in their perceived order of male vs female dominance in a range of careers; a true or false game, that considered current and past laws, pivotal to representation of women; and numerous discussion points.
As a group, we were amazed at the ease at which the room engaged in discussions that allowed us to conclude the workshop with the creation of a mind-map, presenting our ‘Brave, Not Perfect’ agenda. Not only did this encompass the focus of our workshop – challenging the stereotypical ‘perfect’ expectation of a woman, as promoted in both the media and everyday life – but equally, we hoped this was something everyone who attended our workshop would take forwards with them in their mentality. Many girls even photographed the mind-map at the end of the workshop, with the intent of spreading our message to others.
Delivering the workshop was a truly rewarding achievement for all of us; we received greatly positive feedback and would highly recommend the experience to others!