Today is International Women’s Day- this week we are highlighting the women who inspire our students and staff at Kensington Park School.

Continuing our series of discussing women who have inspired us from different eras in history as well as those in different roles today, our students have focused on women in media, sport & culture.

Women are increasingly having their voices heard in popular culture, sport and the media. Previously, the public eye was dominated by male figures. In some areas there is still male dominance, think about the coverage of female sports in the media compared to the male versions, but grassroots movements, including #MeToo in late 2017, are contributing to this changing rapidly.

Starting with those in the media, Jonathon (Year 7) nominated Geena Rocero. “Firstly she must've pushed through many people who were transphobic and still stayed strong and proud. She start her own media production company 'Gender Proud' and have made many other people comfortable with who they are. Gender Proud tells stories of the trans community to elevate justice and equality. I feel like that is something to be inspired by how she kept to her believes no matter what others say and has helped others do the same, and not only that she has raised equality quite a bit, of course there are still homophobic people but she has helped other people realise that it should be more equal.”

Harriet (Year 7) chose Emma Watson. “I am inspired by Emma Watson not only for being an amazing actress, but also because she speaks out for women's rights all across the world, giving motivational and heart warming speeches. She explains how women aren't getting the same respect as men, and tries her best to make the world a better place. In my opinion she is extremely underrated. This is why I think Emma Watson should be celebrated.”

Deniz (Year 11) went with Ellen DeGeneres. “She came out as a lesbian woman before gay marriage was allowed in the United States. Even though she knew that it would affect her talk show and her viewers she still bravely came out”

Stephanie (Year 7) selected Princess Diana. “I chose Princess Diana because she did so much to help people and never took her title for granted or as a pass. She helped so many children and never judged people who were below her.”

Miss Luthra chose Mindy Kaling. “She is an American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and director. She is an extremely talented comedy writer and I think she has achieved a lot from a very young age. Especially, doing so well in Hollywood, a place that is particularly male dominated. While a 19-year-old sophomore at Dartmouth, Kaling was an intern on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. When Kaling joined the T.V. show The Office as a writer, she was only 24 years old and was the only woman on a staff of eight. She also served as an actress, executive producer, and director on the show.”

Musicians have also been an inspiration. Anton (Year 7) selected Anna Vinovich, an “amazing classical guitarist”.

Fadwa (Year 7) believes “Ariana Grande should be celebrated because she has become a very strong woman with all that she has been through. Even though she has suffered a lot of losses she still pulls through it and she has never stopped doing what she loves. For example, the Manchester event. Her concert was 'attacked' and about 20 people died and more got injured. However, this horrible event has not stopped her from preforming in other places. Yes, she does get a bit sensitive about some things, however she just brushes of her problems and tries to continue with her life.”

Mari (Year 9) went for Beyonce. “She is a powerful, inspirational woman. Her orchestra is a full black women band. She is very supportive and motivational.”

Kitty (Year 9) selected MIA because “she raises awareness for some of the issues or struggle that are happening across the world. She is a also singer and her songs are energetic and empowering which I find motivational”

Mr Travers selected Florence Welsh, "As the lead singer-songwriter of 'Florence and the Machine, Florence is able to capture feelings of euphoria and transcendence into her music like so few can. She does this via her amazing voice, unique use of the harp that so few contemporary bands use and enchanting stage presence. I have been enough fortunate to see her live twice and can confirm she is a testament that those who aim to embrace their individuality and uniqueness in the forms of artistic expression can create eternal and impactful pieces of art.”

In sport, Miss Kourou starts us off with Sofia Bekatorou. “She is a Greek Olympic games champion of sailing who, just about a month ago, spoke of assault and prompted a wave of support and an open discussion in a country where studies suggest sexual harassment is highly prevalent. Sofia managed to break a bigger silence in a society in which sexual harassment is still largely a taboo. Since then, countless of women as well as men, from the entertainment industry to academia, have spoken out against harassment, initiating a Greek #MeToo movement and triggering a positive cultural change.”

Carlota (Year 7) selected Simone Biles. “When she was little she had a very rough childhood since she was split from her parents sine they were drug dealers and wouldn’t treat her well at all. Simone moved with her grandparents and they adopted her. Simone is a 20 time Olympic gold medallist in gymnastics and even though her parents never loved her or supported her that didn’t get in there way.”

Mr Mitchell chose Nicola Adams who, when she was asked for advice for female students, said ‘tell them they can do any sport they choose".

Literary figures were also popular. Leo (Year 7) went for Mary Shelley “because she wrote a really good book with all the circumstances and she should be recognized by any other man writer.”

Miss Gammon selected Glennon Doyle. “Over the first lockdown, I read Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed. The book is part memoir and part galvanising call to action. The book changed my life and that’s why this International Women’s Day I reflect on the enormity of Glennon’s message in Untamed. As women, we adopt the roles and expectations given to us from birth, which are then perpetuated by society's condition of us. Glennon’s Untamed was able to shatter all of these expectations in a mere 325 pages and from this I was able to adopt a new lens by which to live my life. The prevailing message in Untamed is the notion of letting go of the expectation the world puts on us as women and to reclaim out true untamed self.”

We look forward to celebrating International Womens' Day throughout the month at Kensington Park School!