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Saturday 18th November saw 10 girls (between Years 8 and 13) from Blackheath High's Feminism Society head to Deptford Green School for a Feminism in Schools conference - Girls to the Front.
Blackheath High School is an independent school for girls in London. Explore our website to find out more.
The first thing on the agenda was the opening ceremony/panel, which consisted of eight women, including our very own Ms Retallack and Matilda! They gave a fantastic presentation on intersectional and inter-generational feminism in schools and we also heard speeches from the Labour MP for Lewisham Vicky Foxcroft, the Guardian journalist Zoe Williams, the Slumflower blogger Chidera Eggerue and Malia Bouattia from the National Union of Students who spoke on issues as far ranging as the plight of women refugees to body positivity and the need for more women in politics.
After a networking lunch during which I sat with a girl from Chislehurst High and two women from the Women's Environmental Network and explored the Feminist Library stand, we broke out into workshops of our choice. For the first session, I went to the Women's Equality Party workshop which was really interesting. It really did open my eyes to injustices I had never realised before. For the second session, I decided to go to Period Potential, a campaign aiming to get free sanitary products across all UK schools, something that even our proactive school doesn't have! I got a few ideas from that workshop that I will be sure to bring up in our next Feminism Society meeting. True to myself, I went to the closing ceremony clutching tons of flyers and newsletters to bring back to school!
After the break out sessions, we went back to the assembly hall and people proposed their campaign ideas. If we were interested, we could talk to them about their ideas and how we could take on their campaign. Since I'm quite interested in the representation of women and girls in politics, I went along to the 50:50 Parliment campaign table, an organisation who aim to get 50% female MP's into parliament. Men currently hold 442 (68%) seats and women only have 208 (32%) of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. I will hopefully go to one of their events at Parliament on 4th December so if you are interested, do join me!
Overall, I found the Feminism in Schools conference much more interesting and fun then I thought I would, and I walked away from the conference feeling more proactive and energised with feminist spirit then ever before!