Lady Eleanor Holles School captures whole school commitment to forging a #BalanceforBetter

 July 08, 2019

IWD Best Practice Winners

What better way to reinforce the power of collective commitment than to capture a whole school striking the #BalanceforBetter pose for equality?

Engaging everyone on the journey for equality

For International Women's Day, Lady Eleanor Holles School wanted to prove that conversations around gender equality are important and can also be fun and exciting.

At the end of their morning assembly on International Women's Day, all students and staff gathered for a whole-of-school #BalanceforBetter photograph. The activity was completely organised by students.

Not only was the IWD activity fun and highly collaborative, but the photograph was then used on posters promoting the school's further International Women's Day activities.

Lady Eleanor Holles School photo

The photograph activity provided an excellent way to include every student in the school in IWD activities and raised awareness of the #BalanceforBetter campaign theme message. 

The photograph has also had a significant impact beyond IWD as a large glossy print of the photo has been on permanent display in the school, and students regularly stop to reminisce about the day and to identify themselves in the photograph.

Many further activities ensued

The school's Junior Choir sang a medley of ‘girl power’ songs at the start of assembly while slides of inspirational women, nominated by the whole school community, were shown behind them. The L6 Creative Directors then presented the assembly using a video featuring members of staff (teaching and non-teaching) being interviewed by the students about their view of gender equality and their inspirational women.

The Assembly was followed by a week-long teaser campaign of posters around school, based around a different idea each day. Year 7 pupils had used form time in the previous weeks to create slides with images and information about inspirational women they admired. These were displayed on the electronic noticeboards around school and on the school intranet. 

The centrepiece of the day was the lunchtime Speaker Panel, at which five women talked about their view of women in the world and took questions from the floor. They included an actor and campaigner, body confidence coach, journalist and entrepreneur, rugby player and a Commander in the Royal Navy. An audience of nearly 100 students and staff heard their life stories and benefited from their wisdom.

Women's day

An IWD playlist of music was streamed in communal areas as pupils and staff arrived in school, during break time and as they left at the end of the day. ‘Wishing trees’, a photo booth and a pledge wall in the school’s communal areas before school and at break time gave all pupils and staff an opportunity to engage with the #BalanceforBetter campaign by writing their wish or pledge for women. Art installations in the communal areas, created by the Middle School pupils in Art Club, used female clothing to highlight gender equality messages.

IWD school students

Women clothing - feminism

In form time, younger students were shown a TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled ‘Why we should all be feminists’, while the Sixth Form had a talk from an entrepreneur on her experience of gender equality and being a woman in the world. Alicia Saili, prop forward at Harlequins Ladies’ RFC, gave workshops on doing traditional Maori war dance, the haka, to Year 9 pupils in their PE lessons.

A ‘wear something purple’ home clothes day in aid of charity Bloody Good Period gave the school the chance to raise awareness of period poverty and they donated over 120 packs of sanitary pads and nearly £900 to the charity.

School's IWD

A page of the school intranet was given over to inspiring poetry, while in the two school libraries there were a wide selection of curated books and DVDs displayed, containing contemporary and historical inspirational women in literature, film, politics, history, science and art. On the adjoining wall there were posters with quotes from inspirational women, IWD postcards and art work.

Meanwhile, elsewhere around the world ...

Social media and websites worldwide were awash with #BalanceforBetter photographs, with a phenomenal number of groups striking the #BalanceforBetter across the world to show their support in striving for a more gender balanced world.

For example in Nigeria, blogger Tonye Barimalaa teamed up with four fellow bloggers for a special International Women’s Day photoshoot to promote the question to their communities: How do we #BalanceforBetter?

Nigerian blogger International Women's Day

The Hunger Project Australia strikes the pose

Meanwhile, The Hunger Project in Australia, an organisation that aims to end world hunger by 2030, also engaged their audiences to strike the #BalanceforBetter pose to help raise awareness about women's equality.

The Hunger Project International Womens Day

The COPERNICUS Alliance, a European network of universities and colleges committed to transformational learning and change for sustainable development, created an interesting collage, showcasing and celebrating support to forge a more gender balanced world.

Copernicus Alliance International Womens Day

There are so many engaging photographs from almost every country. The world wants to see greater equality for women. The world wants a #BalancerforBetter.

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