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Head’s blog

A Focus on Gender

Gender equality has been the subject of much debate recently; in the World Economic Forum in Davos it is at the heart of the agenda this year and, for the first time, it is being chaired by an all-female panel: seven women, each at the top of their profession, in engineering, science, politics and business.

Influential women was the title of a tutor assembly at The Mount, Mill Hill International on Monday. Pupils of different nationalities gave presentations about their female role models. We learnt that the Chinese character Mulan, made famous by Disney, most likely was based on a real woman immortalised in an ancient Chinese ballad from the Song dynasty. Like Mulan, we also learnt of brave Kazakh women who became heroes fighting for their country in the Second World War.

As educators, we have a duty to ensure that everyone has equal rights to the curriculum and it is therefore imperative that we understand the pernicious effects of gender stereotyping. A recent research revealed that nearly half of girls say their behaviour in class and how much they participate in lessons is affected by perceptions of gender stereotyping. Being aware of this is half the battle; tackling it may take some time, but keeping the debate and dialogue alive is fundamental to our success.