Girls Breaking Barriers: House of Lords debate
On Friday 16th November, Woodside High was one of 10 schools in the UK and four girls from Ghana and Rwanda to debate girls’ rights for the first time in the House of Lords.
In a debate chaired by two Deputy Speakers, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall and Baroness Pitkeathley, Woodside High students discussed four specific barriers that girls face globally, and their potential solutions:
- The stereotypes girls face at school and the assumptions that are made about their capabilities and potential.
- The fact girls don’t see themselves reflected in public and political life and how positions of power tend to be held by men.
- The issue of street harassment, which girls are facing on a daily basis.
- The fact girls don’t have enough information about their bodies, healthy relationships and their sexual health.
Before the debate, students took part in Q&A conversations with a panel of inspiring and influential women – including Katie Chapman, Chelsea Ambassador, and BBC radio presenter Emma Barnett, who shared information on their careers and life experiences.
When more girls’ voices are included in decision-making, communities and nations thrive and become stronger. But today, girls remain one of the most discriminated against groups in the world. Whether they dream of being a chief executive, a firefighter or a business owner, they start to experience barriers to success at a young age – and they must be supported so their rights are no longer ignored. The big decisions that impact girls’ lives sit with political leaders. Yet women are underrepresented in political life at all levels. For girls’ voices to be heard and for girls’ rights to be at the forefront, we need girls to enter politics. By debating in the House of Lords, students took part in a platform to try out new skills, find their voice and build their confidence, so they can see themselves as the political leaders of the future.