BIS HCMC empowerment club lead women’s history month activities for BISaware week-BIS HCMC empowerment club lead womens history month activities for BISaware week-Selected photo (8)
WRITTEN BY
Chantal Gamble
Communications
07 March, 2024

BIS HCMC empowerment club lead women’s history month activities for BISaware week

BIS HCMC empowerment club lead women’s history month activities for BISaware week-BIS HCMC empowerment club lead womens history month activities for BISaware week-DSC01704
An interview with the leaders of the empowerment club on International Women's Day

Are we just any one thing? Our identities are unique and multifaceted. This month is BISaware month on the Secondary Campus, a season dedicated to raising awareness and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion. Combining Black History Month, Women’s History Month and LGBTQ+ awareness, our secondary students will delve deep into the unheard stories of a diverse range of people, within and beyond our community and discover “Who we are” at BIS HCMC. 

Our Empowerment Club, with students from Year 7 to Year 12, carefully planned a series of activities for their peers for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March. Activities include a talk by Ms Mullholland, our Deputy Head of Enrichment, a poster hunt featuring the untold stories of 12 women from around the world, a book club, self defence classes and film screenings. You can see the full plan here.

BIS HCMC empowerment club lead women’s history month activities for BISaware week-BIS HCMC empowerment club lead womens history month activities for BISaware week

 

We joined the Empowerment Club this Wednesday and caught up with the leaders of the club, who when we arrived, were leading a session on debate, and empowering their fellow students to stand up and be heard. Axelle, Anvvita and Tu Anh, are all Year 12 students who are passionate about gender equality. 

What topics and activities do you focus on in Empowerment Club?

Axelle: We try to do a variety of things, we focus on life skills or things that would matter not only in school. One of the most popular activities was the self-defence sessions, it was nice because they encompassed a lot of different areas including feeling comfortable in your skin and also feeling safe. A lot of us are going to university in a couple of years so it’s preparing ourselves for the world outside of BIS too.

What made you want to be part of this club?

Anvvita: It was always a personal interest of mine about gender equality because it differs so much culturally. I am very engaged in feminism and talks on how far we are away from gender equality in the 21st century. So when this club was formed I knew I had to be part of it, it just felt right. Coming here, it’s such a positive environment, everyone is open to discussion. We all have a similar feeling about women and empowerment. It’s always nice to be in such a positive environment with such lovely women. 

Tu Anh: I think it’s the name that made me attracted to the club because empowerment isn’t necessarily only for women, but is relevant to larger groups too. Just the idea of being a part of creating a safe space for all of us to connect to each other is empowering in itself but it’s also a great opportunity to better ourselves, in school and outside of school for the future. It teaches us a lot about our community and how we can grow as people. 

Axelle: I joined BIS this year, so the name sounded comforting - a place where you can go and talk to new people, it feels like you’re doing something that’s worthy of your time and also just talking to people who are interested in things that I am interested in. 

How do you think girls and women are empowered at BIS? 

Tu Anh: We have really successful female sports teams here that have the same amount of opportunities as males, for example, being able to visit another country and competing there, I think that’s really empowering. 

Axelle: Seeing women in leadership like Ms Mulholland and Ms Stanley is very empowering. It’s nice to see them in that position because it should be normal but in a lot of places it’s still not and they do a great job. We have really good role models to look up to. 

Anvvita: In my IGCSEs I had 3 women science teachers and that was so empowering to me. I think that’s one thing that’s resonated with me. I also just look up to a lot of female students here. 

 
BIS HCMC empowerment club lead women’s history month activities for BISaware week-BIS HCMC empowerment club lead womens history month activities for BISaware week

 

You have planned a lot of great activities for Women’s History Month. For you, what is the key message that you want your fellow students to take away from this? 

Anvvita: Throughout history, women a lot of times are forgotten or put aside so this month is so important to make sure their voices are heard. There are times you will tell a story about a woman and people will be surprised that even happened, that’s just depressing. 

Axelle: We have been focusing on the umbrella theme of untold stories. Often what happens with these kinds of events is that, when you think about powerful women in history, certain names pop up. So, for me, I want to make sure people discover new women in history and take part in new activities. It kind of falls under the umbrella of diversity, because there’s so much more to it than often what we see on the surface level. I think it’s hard to get everyone involved and really dig deeper but if we give them things that people don’t hear about as often, I think it makes it easier for everyone to have a broader understanding. 

Anvvita: Your voice is valuable, everyone’s voice comes from a different place, a different perspective and we want to hear it at BIS, and generally, just share your voice. 


BIS HCMC empowerment club lead women’s history month activities for BISaware week-BIS HCMC empowerment club lead womens history month activities for BISaware week


It’s incredible to see how this club has formed a safe and inclusive space for all to thrive and feel heard. Ms Lowry, our Whole School Equality Champion and History teacher, shared that the club was originally set up by herself and Ms Dodds-Smith, our Senior Whole School Counsellor, but the aim is to now pass the leadership to the students. The club runs every Wednesday 2.50-3.45 in room 131 and all genders are welcome to join!