10 Mar 2017

Alex Hems: Head's Blog March 10, 2017

Alex Hems for websiteBe Bold for Change: raising awareness of gender equality 

This week started with a thought-provoking assembly in Upper School led by our International Committee who asked us all to consider the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, Be Bold for Change. Through a live debate on the platform the girls put forward the arguments for and against requiring company boards to have equal representation of men and women in order to speed up the process of change in our society and close the gender gap. Despite enormous leaps forward women are still significantly under-represented in many aspects of public life and at board-room level in the UK. We know that diversity leads to more effective and creative team working and that where women are well represented at senior levels in business and politics the benefits are felt in terms of economic growth and increasing equality across society at large.  Girls and staff voted, the majority declaring themselves in favour of the measure. It was good to hear the girls debating this issue passionately and advocating a variety of different ways to achieve the aim of greater gender equality. I know that these were also issues that members of Lower 4 were thinking about when they set off on their World of Work day on Wednesday.

Promoting Sport for Girls with Judy Murray 

It was particularly timely, therefore, to welcome Judy Murray back to St George’s on Monday. As part of her new programme, She Rallies, which is designed to grow the female workforce in tennis, aiming to attract and retain many more girls and women into the game across the UK, she was here training PE teachers from our own department and from other schools across Scotland about how to teach and coach girls most effectively.  It is one of the strengths of course of single sex education that we are able to focus on the specific ways in which girls learn, and this is a significant area of research in sport science as well; a better understanding of female psychology and physiology can increase motivation and performance at all levels.

It has been a great week for sport at St George’s, with notable successes in cross-country and hockey, but I am always delighted to see how many girls are involved in sport on a daily basis, whether in their PE lessons, through after-school clubs or competing in fixtures. The inclusive approach, which means that any girl who shows commitment will have a chance to represent the school, ensures high levels of participation at all ages and most importantly means that they continue to enjoy physical activity and competitive sport as they move through the school. I very much hope that this is a pleasure which will stay with the girls for life, contributing to both their physical and mental wellbeing.

Good luck to our teams competing in the 2nd XI hockey tournament here on Saturday.

Alex Hems
Head, St George's School for Girls

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