This year, the Girls’ Day School Trust marks 150 years of educating girls across England and Wales.
The year-long celebration began with a speech from its Chief Executive Cheryl Giovannoni at the International Coalition of Girls Schools’ Global Forum on Girls’ Education® III in Boston, USA outlining why girls’ education is as important as ever.
The international audience heard about the enduring relevance of girls’ education in 2022, with Cheryl Giovannoni drawing on the Girls’ Day School Trust’s experience of educating over 19,000 girls each year and the family of 25 schools’ expertise in leading the way in learning and innovation in the UK.
GDST Heads Jo Sharrock (Shrewsbury High School), Fionnuala Kennedy (Wimbledon High School) and Alison Sefton (Norwich High School) also attended the Boston conference to join the global conversation on girls’ education. Additionally, a number of GDST teachers who are taking part in the coalition’s Global Action Research Collaborative Programme presented the results of their research projects geared towards shaping the sector’s understanding of how to best equip girls for the future.
The GDST’s 150th anniversary commemorates the founding of the Trust to provide an affordable, first-class education for girls, but it is also an important milestone to reinforce the continued importance of girls’ education as well as the Trust’s mission to reach as many girls as possible.
In the words of Becki Holbrooke, a Bromley High School GDST class of 2005 alumna, ‘Girls-only education allows young people to learn in the absence of gender stereotypes. In an age where gender bias is still an issue, we need to enable young women to compete on a level playing field.’
Cheryl Giovannoni, Chief Executive, GDST said: ‘While there has been great progress for women around the world over the last 150 years, our mission at the GDST and the mission of girls’ education remains as important, urgent and as relevant as ever. There is still a gender pay gap and fewer female CEOs of the UK’s FTSE 100 than there were 3 years ago. Women still shoulder the burden of caring for their families, both young and old, and remain vulnerable on unsafe streets.
On our 150th birthday, the GDST remains committed to our ambition to change the course of history for girls and women everywhere: working together, remaining fearless and focused, continuing to innovate and inspire, and staying true to our pioneering spirit as we seek to drive change for women.‘