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Celebrating the political, economic, and social achievements of women

Mrs Hill, Deputy Head (Academic) at Bethany School, talks about the importance of celebrating days such as International Women’s Day and shares Bethany pupils’ inspirations and why they inspire them.

March 8th was International Women’s Day and I spoke to all Bethany pupils about the importance of marking this day as an opportunity to celebrate the political, economic, and social achievements of women; to reflect on current societal expectations and stereotypes of women; and to think about the contributions that we can all make to achieving gender equality.

I shared three stories of inspirational women – Sophie Scholl, Mary Shelley, and Maya Angelou – and challenged pupils to reflect on the women who inspire them, both in the wider world and their own lives.

Here some Bethany pupils share their examples of inspirational women and the reasons why they inspire them…

StellaRugbyStella in Year 9 is inspired by Jess Breach who plays for both the Women’s Harlequins and the Women’s English rugby team and has played in the England Women’s 7s team. Stella is inspired by her focus and commitment to her sport.



EmilyRPEmily in Year 9 has picked Rosa Parks as her inspirational woman because of the important work that she undertook in the Civil Rights Movement. She refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, even though she knew she would be arrested and her story highlights how important it is to stand up for what you believe is right and just.


IsabelCKIsabel in Year 11 is inspired by Camille Knowles who has used her own experience of suffering with severe eczema to create a brand of beauty products for others with sensitive skin. She admires Camilla because she provides guidance and support to others who suffer from skin conditions and has never cared what others thought about her, even though she saw herself as being different and life was often a challenge.

CelesteAGCeleste in Year 11 has chosen Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter born in 1593. She was taught how to paint by her father but was banned from all artist guilds in Rome because she was a woman. Celeste picked Artemisia because she has demonstrated how you can take trauma and turn it into something powerful, something that will last and inspire others. She overcame the barriers and limitations that were placed on women and became one of the most famous artists of her time.

NiamhHLNiamh in Year 11 has chosen Hannah Lowther as her inspirational woman. Hannah is currently playing ‘New Wave Girl’ in Heathers the musical on the West End and understudies two of the main characters in the show. Hannah has persisted in pursuing her ambition to perform despite Covid putting a halt on auditions which meant she had to take a job in a completely different field to support herself.


Eriife in Year 7 has chosen two inspirational women to share with you. The first is Claudette Colvin who, like Rosa Parks, took a stand and refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was only 15 at the time! Eriife is inspired by her because: ‘she was bold in her decision and stuck to it. She is a good example for all women to respect themselves and take a stand.’


She also chose Michelle Obama, the first African American woman to serve as the First Lady of the United States as well as being a gifted lawyer. She is inspired by Michelle Obama’s message that we should all find our identity and explore who we are, not worrying about what other people think of us.

What all these women have in common is the confidence and drive to be the best that they can be. They have all focused on setting personal goals and have worked hard to achieve them, learning from their mistakes along the way, and overcoming all the obstacles placed in their paths.

There is certainly a lot that we can learn from them about the importance of holding on to our aspirations and setting ourselves targets to move closer to our goals so that we all become the very best versions of ourselves!
Mrs Hill
Deputy Head – Academic