GIRL power was the order of the day when a school in South Tyneside marked International Women’s Day.
Staff and students at St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields, took part in a range of events to mark the day – which was first held on March 8, 1909 by the Socialist Party of America to celebrate women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
A dozen ‘inspirational women’ from the local community were invited to the school, in Temple Park Road, to take part in the celebration, which was officially marked across the globe yesterday and has a theme of ‘Make It Happen’.
Guests included South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, Tamara Taylor, who represented England at the 2010 and 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup, and Gazette reporter Verity Ward.
Groups of girls from the school’s Sixth Form had the chance to hear how the female guests ended up in their chosen careers and the struggles they encountered along the way.
Alex Fairlamb, a history teacher, said: “The purpose of inviting inspiration women along was to show the girls that they can also make it happen in whatever field they choose in their lives.
“By sharing experiences and listening to others, it gives students real inspiration to go out in the world and achieve what they want.
“They had been so excited about the guests coming into the school, they’d been talking about it all week. I think the event really well, the students were engaged and so enthusiastic about it all.”
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Faye Cunningham also attended and spoke to students.
She said: “Events of this nature are vitally important in encouraging our young women to aim high. I’m quite sure that these students will be successful in whatever career they choose to embark upon.”
By sharing experiences and listening to others, it gives students real inspiration to go out into the world and achieve whatever they want.Alex Fairlamb, history teacher
As part of the day, boys watched videos on the achievements women have made in spite of various challenges.
They also put together postcards celebrating inspirational female staff and students for their achievements.
Samantha Tumelty, associate assistant head at St Wilfrid’s, said: “The boys are keen to see their girlfriends and wives of the future on a more equal footing with them, so this day has been a good opportunity for them to reflect on how they can help achieve this.”
She added: “The theme of this year’s Women’s Day was ‘Make It Happen’ and our own school motto is ‘Getting Better Never Stops.’
“This day was just another way of reinforcing our message that girls – and indeed all our students – can be whatever they want to be.”