January 22

A truly historic moment for women and the superpowers of introverts

This week we witnessed a truly historic moment for women and girls as Kamala Harris broke barriers to become the first female, first black and first Asian-American Vice President of the United States of America.  

I know from my conversation with students and my friends, that this has been a very inspiring and moving moment for women and girls of all ages. When Kamala Harris spoke back in November after being named Vice President-elect, she said, "While I may be the first woman to take this office, I will not be the last". These words remind us that the significance of any barrier being broken is not just in that one victory, but, importantly, what it means for generations to come. With every barrier we see broken, we see before us even more clearly the world of possibilities for girls everywhere.

I have been reflecting on the power of that possibility this week. I am never in doubt that girls at Blackheath High School can - and do - achieve whatever they want to in life. We see them learning, growing and leading every day. Whether that is helping support their friends and classmates through the return of Guided Home Learning, or overcoming a new challenge in their lessons. Their spirit - especially in these times - continues to amaze. 

This week I delivered an assembly on the "superpowers of introverts". I consider myself an introvert. I talked to the girls about my love of reading and my fear and discomfort in stepping into a leadership role and standing talking in front of a school full of students. I went into teaching because I have a passion for my subject (history) and for young people and I want to share that passion. However, we are taught by society that "introverts" don't make for successful or effective leaders because they are considered "shy" and not confident. This stereotype holds people back and is essentially, not true. We all have different qualities within us that the world needs and that we have to offer. In fact, introverts are often found to be better listeners, a quality that is often missing in, but critical for, being a considerate and effective leader. If you're interested, I recommend reading 'Quiet Power' by Susan Cain, focusing on teenagers, and recommended for families, and which I shared with the girls. 

If you haven't seen it already, I share with you all a final piece of inspiration for the future, a reading of 'The Hill We Climb', by 22 year-old poet Amanda Gorman. Many people said she stole the show at this week's inauguration with the power of her words and presence. I never fail to be amazed by what young people are capable of and - whatever path your daughter chooses - I will not be surprised to see her blaze her own trails along the way.  

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