We were incredibly honoured to be invited to meet the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Jane Hartley, at the US Embassy ahead of International Day of the Girl. Established by the United Nations in 2012 to raise awareness of the issues faced by girls around the world, International Day of the Girl is celebrated annually on 11 October and also aimed at promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
Following Ambassador Hartley’s inspirational visit to Streatham & Clapham High School to celebrate International Women’s Day in March with students from the school, neighbouring state schools and GDST sister schools, Ambassador Hartley hosted 24 students from the same schools (Streatham & Clapham, Wimbledon High School and La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School) at the US Embassy in London.
To demonstrate her commitment to achieving gender equality and getting more women into leadership roles, Ambassador Hartley gave the pupils an opportunity to ask a panel of women in the US office questions about their careers in diplomacy.
In her opening remarks to start the panel, Ambassador Hartley spoke about her responsibility as an ambassador and as a woman; she is only the second woman to take up the role of US Ambassador to the United Kingdom in a hundred years. She confirmed that she hopes to encourage more young women to gain an interest in politics to ensure that she was not the last woman ambassador to the UK. She also praised the younger generation’s desire to move in the right direction towards a future where it is aspirational to have or to be a woman in leadership. She reminded the girls of the power of diversity, and closed her speech with some sage advice: “Only your dreams are your limitation – aim high.”
The opportunity for our pupils to step inside the US Embassy, experience its unique atmosphere, and engage with the diplomatic world provided an invaluable educational experience. The visit broadened their horizons and reinforced the importance of gender equality, which the International Day of the Girl represents.
Our Head Girls and Year 10 pupils thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on women in leadership and the work that needs to be done to achieve gender equality. Following the engaging panel discussed and Q&A, pupils were given a tour of the US embassy to round off a truly unforgettable day. Thank you to the US Embassy for sharing your insights and inspiring our pupils.