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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Equality Week

This week has been Equality Week at St Helen's, celebrating and exploring many different themes based around this concept. Organised by Lower Sixth students, it has been brilliant to see so much involvement from students across the School with this universal issue.

The week began with a fantastic talk on Monday afternoon from BBC Sport broadcaster Eleanor Oldyroyd, who spoke about her career in a male-dominated field, juggling parenthood and work and how to grow a thick skin. Her tips on how to get into journalism were eagerly noted by several students!

Tuesday lunchtime saw a panel of male teachers - Mr Verjee, Dr Smith and Mr Bownass - discussing toxic masculinity and how it has affected them. Many excellent points were debated, including how to shake off the 'traditional bloke' image, lad culture, being seen as 'girly', fatherhood, emotional openness and how to have these conversations with young people. Over 60 students crammed into the Lecture Theatre and it was impressive to see such honesty and respect in our school community.

A mid-week balloon debate explored women and power, the aggression double standard and what may well be the biggest question facing young women today: how to have a fulfilling career and potentially have children. With interesting explorations of the lives of Gloria Steinem and other pioneering feminists, it was a brilliant way to unpick challenges still facing all women.

Thursday saw an LGBTQ+ theme, with a competition and other activities throughout school, all exploring equality and the LGBTQ+ community.

On Friday we hosted a panel discussion, Dads4Daughters, chaired by Mrs Dougall. Four fathers of current students discussed diversity in the workplace and why women are still so underrepresented in various careers, as well as reflecting on their own experiences of providing equal opportunities and what they see as the challenges still facing women in the workplace.

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