To celebrate International Women’s Day, Plumstead Manor School in Greenwich invited over 200 students from the area to join them in their celebrations. The event was organized by two sixth form students, Noor Ali and Janraj Khunkhun, and saw students aged from as young as 9 getting involved. Over the course of the day, the students had the chance to interact in workshops and hear from an array of speakers, showcasing the contribution of women in society and the roles that both men and women play to help create gender parity.

Speakers included Cllr Denise Hyland, a local councilor of the Borough of Greenwich and the first ever female leader of the borough; Pamela Oparaocha, station manager at Hornsey Fire Station and the only black woman to hold this role nationally; Elisha Foust, a founding member of the Women’s Equality Party; Matthew Pennycook, Member of Parliament for Greenwich and Woolwich; and QEPrize Ambassador Jaz Rabadia MBE, senior manager of energy at Starbucks.

Each of the speakers engaged students by sharing their diverse stories from their respective fields, talking about the opportunities and challenges they have faced and how they overcame them. As professional women, they spoke of the importance of having confidence in your abilities and not being afraid of being the only woman in the room. The day left the students with 4 new role models and opened their eyes to potential careers in areas they may not have aspired to before.

After hearing from the inspirational female speakers, students broke out into fun and interactive workshops, providing a more hands-on session. The day concluded with astonishing dance and choir performances to commemorate and mark the unique achievements women have made over time, and the differences they continue to make worldwide.

Speaking to the QEPrize after the event, Jaz explained: “Reaching out to students in this way is really invaluable and it gives them real insight into what their futures could look like. Even if we were to inspire just one more student to consider a career in engineering, it would be time well spent!”

To find out more about the QEPrize Global Engineering Ambassadors’ Network, visit http://qeprize.org/ambassadors/.

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