Students at Lady Eleanor Holles School in SW London had very special PE lessons today when Alicia Saila, New Zealand prop forward, came in to teach them how to perform the Haka, the traditional Maori dance. The Haka has been described as “involving large amounts of shouting, as well as the use of the arms and legs to intimidate the opponent”; perfect, then, for getting in the mood to celebrate International Women’s Day!
This event rounds up a week of activities to celebrate International Women’s Day. As girls arrived at school this morning, they were asked to write a wish for women to attach to “Wishing Trees” in the school entrance hall. They were also encouraged to wear something purple or bring in a pack of sanitary pads or panty liners to donate to the charity Bloody Good Period.
Later in the day, a panel of five extraordinary and exceptional women from very different walks of life talked to the girls about their experiences of being a women in the workplace and the obstacles they have had to overcome to get there. Panellist included Kay Hallsworth, Commander, Royal Navy, Alicia Saili, from Harlequins Ladies Rugby Team, Michele Elman, a Body Confidence Coach, Preeti Virdee, Rugby Journalist and Polly Highton, actor and activist.
Two of the most important lessons learnt from the panellists were “be inclusive and authentic and true to yourself” and “don’t care what people think of you; just be yourself and be confident in that.”