By Anna Seifu

Loreto’s gender equality week took place this term, after months of discussion and planning by Lower and Upper sixth students. The week brought with it many thought provoking events to make students think about how gender is perceived and the fight for gender equality.

The week was kicked off on Monday during tutorial with captivating PowerPoints tackling issues like gender stereotypes, everyday sexism and rape culture. These provoked meaningful discussions by displaying and explaining realities that many may be unaware of. These conversations continued in the corridors as students were educated on these issues by a poster campaign across the college campus.

On the Tuesday, a showing of “I am Malala” enticed students to watch the story of Malala Yousafzai speaking out against the lack of education for young girls in third- world countries. Student Ellie Cronin responded to the showing saying, “Malala really teaches us that ordinary people can stand up and make a difference in the fight towards equality.” Another student said “I always felt like I knew Malala’s story, but never the girl behind it. This film really gives us that insight.”

The Debate club was transformed to fit the week’s theme on the Wednesday. The motion was “Celebrity feminists advance the cause for gender equality” and a controversial debate was triggered. Ms Tattersall said that “it was one of the best debates [that she] had seen in years” because of the large, engaged audience and the high standard of points delivered. A student said “It opened my eyes to a new perspective on celebrity feminism”.

For the last event of the week, attendees were treated to a visitor from the University of Manchester. Jackie Stacey spoke about Tilda Swinton and her involvement in empowering women in Hollywood through her gender-defying roles, her rejection of female stereotypes and her general campaigning for equality. She also sparked an interesting discussion about intersectional feminism and whether it is possible to build up the plight of women without hindering the progress of other movements.

Feedback from this compelling week from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive and planning has already begun to make the next gender equality even better.