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February 27th 2017

Blackheath High welcomes new CEO of GDST, Cheryl Giovannoni to the school

On Monday 6th February 2017, Blackheath High welcomed the new CEO of the Girls' Day School Trust to both the Junior and Senior Schools. Cheryl was appointed CEO in September last year, after leaving her role as CEO of the top advertising agency, Oglivy & Mather. On visiting Blackheath High, Cheryl was treated to the school’s fortnightly Wollstonecraft lecture. This time it was led by The Feminist Society, who were delighted to present a special panel-based Wollstonecraft lecture called ‘Whose Feminism is it anyway?’

Students from Years 9-13 spoke alongside Mr Crozier and Mr Cannon, to discuss their own identifications with feminism by drawing on the intersections with issues of gender, sexuality, religion, race and class. Ms Retallack chaired the event, introducing the topic of intersectionality through the lens of the recent Women’s Marches that have taken place across the globe. Each student and teacher then spent three minutes outlining an aspect of feminism that has relevance in their life, including topics such as masculinity and feminism; Islam and feminism; the representation of LGBTQ+ characters in popular media and the importance of Gender Equality initiatives in schools, before the floor was opened to questions and comments from the audience.  

Thea in Year 13 worked very hard to organise this panel and to support the younger students with their speeches, and an atmosphere of cross-generational feminist solidarity shone through. The Feminist Society were thrilled to present their intersectional ideas to Cheryl, who asked questions and encouraged the girls with their ideas.  

The event offered the audience the notion that feminism must recognise that we have intersecting identities, some that privilege us and some that oppress, and that we are therefore impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues.  Both the students and teachers ultimately suggested that we do not live single issue lives, and therefore feminism should never be a single issue movement.

Cheryl mentioned on Twitter, after her visit, how much she enjoyed the “articulate and impressive presentations”. All the students and staff loved meeting the new CEO, and look forward to seeing her lead the GDST.

Hanna Retallack
English Teacher

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