From the founder: we came, we saw, we got roped into a participatory role-play for the first time since university!
January 31, 2023
From the Founder: Why We Need to Celebrate International Women’s Day
When I was in my teens, I read a book that changed my life. It was called Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, about a princess born into fantastic wealth yet with little freedom of her own. I remember feeling shocked that someone so wealthy could be so trapped. More than anything, I was haunted by the idea that any girls were not entitled to go to school.
The princess in this book, based on a true story, was born in 1928. Much has changed in Saudi Arabia since then. So too, have I become more aware of the systemic biases in our own country. However, it was the knowledge that children could be denied fair access to education that contributed to me becoming the business owner I am today.
Who we’re celebrating this International Women’s Day
In a meeting just before Christmas 2021, One Day’s all-woman office team began to develop a new Significant Women workshop for International Women’s Day. We already have a number of female-focused workshops. Florence Nightingale, Grace Darling and Rosa Parks are popular with KS1. But we wanted to expand this offering. Who would inspire young minds?
We immediately chose Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai, to add to this new workshop. The world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, she was attacked for her belief that all children, regardless of gender, have a right to education. However, rather than be silenced, she continued advocating for a world where girls are able to reach their full potential. Her bravery is nothing short of extraordinary.
As a Civil Engineer’s daughter (I think my dad would have loved for me to go into engineering!), I was eager to highlight a woman within this under-represented field. Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Not only that, but during her life she worked hard to champion opportunities for women in aviation.
For years, my husband (a computer coder) and I have spoken about creating a workshop covering the mathematician, Ada Lovelace. For many children today it’s impossible to imagine a world without computers and the internet. How many of them know the role that the ‘world’s first computer programmer’ played in making this possible?
To complete our four significant women, we chose Mary Seacole. This British-Jamaican nurse is famed for helping countless wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Yet, Florence Nightingale’s achievements are often better-known. We wanted to ensure that Mary’s incredible story was also being told.
Why International Women’s Day matters to me
I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a company that teaches children. Through our work, we can play a part in changing harmful attitudes. We also get to ask children some very important questions. One of these is: how can we all make a ‘significant’ difference? While aspirational, we want every child to know that they have the ability to make a positive impact on the world.
In the past, the achievements of men have dominated our history books. Telling the stories of significant women gives young children the opportunity to meet more diverse role models than ever before. I’m raising two young daughters. I want them to grow up in a world where they believe they can be anything they want to be. Already they have very strong minds (I think the word often used is ‘determined’) and I love that… most of the time!
How about you? Who inspires you and who will you be celebrating on International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8th March? We’d love to know! Thank you.
“You will never know who stands with you if you don’t stand up first.” – Malala