Education for ‘genuine girls not imitation boys’
"An immense view of the universe"
The nature of what constitutes education for genuine girls has extended and expanded over the 119 years Wychwood has been running and recently we have introduced a lecture series named after one of our outstanding headmistresses, Sue Wingfield Digby. The Hilary term Wingfield Digby lectures carry the theme of Women inspiring Women through the years and the series has fulfilled its brief to offer girls an idea of what is out there for women’s careers nowadays.
The first lecture from Suzie Winton Lyle who spent her career in the Developing Countries Trade Agency gave a humorous, slightly alternative view on a woman’s working life spent in the UK and abroad in what was then mainly a man’s world. She experienced the issues, crises, high and low points inherent in any post-colonial British trade endeavour. This was complicated by the fact that she was a woman in environments which religiously and culturally found working women to be a curiosity rather than a norm. As a result she developed a nose for diplomacy and negotiation, skills that women have always possessed.
The following year brought former Wychwood girl, now stand-up comedian and podcaster, Iszi Lawrence. Iszi had the audience weeping with laughter and the girls struck with hero worship as she worked her way through her normal routine, editing heavily for the audience as she went.
In 2015 we moved from the wry, close observation of the human condition to an immense view of the universe as Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell introduced us to The Universe and Us. We enjoyed a fascinating journey through astrophysics, philosophy, religion, poetry and art showing that the days of the polymath remain and belong with women. Education for genuine girls – there is so much more to it than simply classroom lessons!
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