November Talk Series – Challenging the Status Quo, Empowering the Next Generation of Women

20 November 2015

Image of two of our speakers from the 30% Club

As well as facilitating talks throughout the academic year which cover many subjects and areas of expertise we also centre talks around specific themes at different points in the year. In tandem with the UN’s Day of the Girl we have been running a talk series throughout November about empowering the next generation of women. This has been an extension of our work and partnership with the 30% Club which was initiated last year under the umbrella of “Equality Across the Board”, now encouraging our speakers to base their talk this November on the theme ‘Challenging the Status Quo’.

Our speakers from all fields have been using this opportunity to highlight the issues of gender inequality and how important it is to educate students about issues in order to create a more equitable society. Below are some of the talks that took place during this series:

Brenda Trenowden at Ravens Wood School

Brenda Trenowden, Head of the Financial Institutions Group ANZ, kick started our talk series, speaking to 50 female Sixth Formers at Ravens Wood School in Bromley. As Head of the 30% Club, Brenda focused on the issues facing young women and challenging them to think about how to overcome diversity issues, debating the positive and negatives of imposing quota’s and arbitrary targets to gain fair representation of woman on boards.

Brenda Trenowden, Head of Financial Institutions at ANZ, speaks to students at Ravens Wood School, Bromley

Brenda also spoke to students about her career which has taken her from Canada to Hong Kong, Bangladesh and London, candidly speaking about her choices both good and bad. One message Brenda got across to students was to take risks, widen their network and seek opportunities to gain work experience.

Rona Fairhead – Aim high, be generous and keep your promises

Image of Rona Fairhead, Head of BBC Trust

Rona Fairhead, Head of BBC Trust gave a candid talk about her life to pupils at Bishop Challoner School. Detailing obstacles she had to overcome, Rona was honest about failures and successes including being rejected from Cambridge on her initial application but persevering and being accepted on her second try. Encouraging students to take risks and think big, Rona explained that the things she thinks are most important are aiming high, being generous and keeping promises especially ones you make to yourself. Addressing the issue of gender inequality she said that girls must not write themselves out of jobs because of the perceived gender stereotype surrounding them. Having started her career in Aerospace she says it is vital for girls to speak up and be confident in their skills and abilities and that they most certainly have a place on boardroom tables.

Baroness Goudie to speak to 360 boys about gender inequality

Rounding off the month, Baroness Mary Goudie, from the House of Lords, will be visiting Dr Challoner’s Grammar School to speak with 360 Boys in Years 10 & 11. The School will be admitting females in the their Sixth Form in the next academic year and are keen for their students to hear about the gender equality issues that are facing young women and to promote diversity throughout the school.

Other speakers who have taken part so far in the month:

  • Roz Savage – Inspired courage, confidence, resilience
  • Sir Peter Gershon – Encouraged girls to think about careers in engineering
  • Melanie Richards – Discussed empowerment, self esteem, drive and ambition
  • Carole Green – Emphasised the need to have the motivation and determination to follow your passion.
  • Ann Pickering – Enlightened students to the world of work in a global organisation
  • Rhian-Mari Thomas – Explored challenges in the workplace and advice given to her by others
  • Joy Tacon – Importance of resilience, following your dreams, overcoming challenges
  • Dr. Louise Robson – Women in STEM
  • Katushka Giltsoff – Raising the awareness of STEM subjects, encouraging girls to aspire to further education
  • Prof. Ros King – Gave advice to be imaginative and playful when thinking about future ambitions

To see more about other events that have happened in recent weeks take a look at our Twitter feed.

Our thanks to all of our speakers who were involved in the talk series and especially the 30% Club for their continued support for Speakers for Schools.