Blogs and Interviews

International Women's Day
18th April 2023
Charlotte Woodhead, Head of Lower College

Ms Charlotte Woodhead

Head of Lower College and Wellbeing Co-ordinator

International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8th March, is as good a time as any for us to consider the utmost importance of gender equality. It is a brilliant occasion to celebrate women's achievements, to raise awareness about discrimination, and to highlight the need for a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

At CLC, we are keenly aware of the need to inspire the next generation to be passionate about contributing towards a gender equal world and we are immensely proud of our heritage of doing just this.

For almost 170 years, CLC has pushed the boundaries for women, and our pioneering principal, Dorothea Beale offered an exciting education during a time when education for girls was limited, and universities did not confer degrees on women. In the 1860s, Dorothea Beale offered a far more egalitarian education for women, introducing subjects such as science and maths to the curriculum, despite opposition citing that it was neither suitable nor necessary for girls. In 1893, she founded St Hilda’s College, Oxford, giving women the right to continue their education.

We continue to be resolutely at the forefront of girls’ education, raising students in a culture that encourages them to have confidence in their place in the world and to pursue wide-ranging interests and challenge stereotypes. CLC continues to be an exciting, vibrant and inspiring place for women to study.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. At CLC, we do this by recognising that each student is an individual and therefore their journey to success will be different.

We offer over 160 co-curricular activities, giving every student the chance to experience new opportunities, whatever their level of ability. We’re proud to put the wellbeing of our students on an equal footing with their academic achievements, and our Wellbeing and Personal Development Programme is tailored to the needs of our pupils, enabling them to flourish in an environment that nurtures and supports them.

The success of this approach is shown not only by our students’ outstanding exam results and extensive co-curricular achievements, but through the well-rounded and inspirational women they become.

It is always uplifting to read about the outstanding contributions our alumnae have made in their careers. Their impact over the years has been far-reaching and we celebrate individuals (from among many) such as Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake, the first female Master of Surgery in 1895; or Dame Clare Marx, the trailblazing surgeon and first female president of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2014; iconic fashion designer Katherine Hamnett CBE; or award-winning children’s author, Robin Stevens.

Long may we all continue to contribute towards a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

8th March 2023