Students at New City College Redbridge Campus celebrated International Women's Day with a series of talks and workshops focusing on inspiring women and their accomplishments under this year's theme 'Press For Progress'.
International Women's Day celebrated annually around the world on 8th March, recognises the achievements of women and is a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in the political and economic issues around the world.
The event boasted a full house of students from across the college who came together to meet and listen to a range of guest female speakers, who have overcome barriers and been successful in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
The students heard from a variety of speakers including Hannah Aourarh, a police officer for 21 years, who spoke about how she had an arranged marriage at 16 and was married and pregnant with her first son, whilst doing her GCSE's. Emma Wallman also shared her story about challenging stereotypes with her job as a car mechanic for 14 years with car manufacturer Volkswagen. She currently owns her own bakery.
Lotis Bautista, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder/Chief Community Officer of VOLO also inspired students on taking the Entrepreneurial route and becoming your own Boss.
Other speakers included Daisy Rose Davis, a former New City College Sports Student, currently studying a Sports Coaching degree at the University of East London, who shared her progress after college and choosing to study a male-dominated course. Daisy has achieved high success in her chosen field including coaching children through Camp America as well as recently signing for the West Ham United Ladies Football Club. Carole from the Terrence Higgins Trust positive Voices Project also shared some information about HIV and promoting good sexual health for everyone.
Two inspirational teachers and the Borough Principal at the College also shared their stories. Susan Walia, who was born with spina bifida and successfully made it as an international swimmer and is now an educational support worker, and Viorica Lucuta who came to the UK from Romania to make a career in teaching.
Janet Smith, Borough Principal New City College, reflected on her journey; "As I gained qualifications, more positions became open to me". From growing up in a council estate with a family with no history of further education and a strong belief that a woman's place was to marry and have children, Janet progressed forward with support from friends to pursue a first degree and a master's degree and proclaimed, "A girl like me. Can do It".
Students were extremely positive about the event, with many saying it was informative and very motivational to hear so many inspiring stories from the panel.
Panel and visiting guests were also impressed with the event, with one Speaker Carole saying,
"Wow what an amazing range of stories we heard today. They should be heard more often".
PC Hannah Aourarh also added,
"what an amazing day. I loved listening to all these wonderful, strong women. I am empowered by them all".
Special highlights of the Celebration also included memorable performances from Amy Mottram, X factor Finalist and Rasa Goryte, currently studying performing arts at the College.