On Friday 8th March, LEH students began their morning in a slightly different way - by cramming themselves into a make-shift photo-booth, Bloody Good Period stickers stuck to their fronts. Though undeniably unconventional, this seemed remarkably fitting considering the circumstances.

International Women’s Day has always been passionately celebrated at LEH. This year was no different, girls alight with enthusiasm as they willingly wrote down their individual pledges in the school’s atrium. Once pinned up on a noticeboard, their personal hopes for a more equal future seemed to pull together into one collective vision. At another entrance, a similar event was in full swing. From the branches of ‘The Wishing Tree’ hung others’ aspirations for women, the whole instalment intended to represent the growth and progress we hoped to make over the years to come.

The school was a blur of purple, the colour students had been invited to wear to show their support for International Women’s Day and the colour of the balloons which decorated the atrium. In a bid to help reduce period poverty in the UK, LEH had decided to organise a sanitary pad drive, with all donations going to Bloody Good Period which was highly successful.

Joining in on the celebrations were five extraordinary, inspiring women from all different lines of work, who had agreed to take part in a panel at lunchtime. Questions asked related to the theme of equality and treatment in the workplace and attitudes towards women.

Kay Hallsworth, commander in the Royal Navy and Alicia Saili who plays rugby for Harlequins Ladies, both spoke of their involvement in professions typically connected to men, demonstrating how important it is to not let societal expectations become a barrier to your aspirations.

Rugby journalist, Preeti Virdee, also spoke of how women can, in fact, be successful in male-dominated professions, whilst Eastenders actress, Polly Highton, spoke of the ambition and perseverance which had led to her success in such a competitive industry.

However, one of the real highlights was listening to Michelle Elman speak. Michelle Elman is a body confidence coach and award-winning author of the book ‘Am I Ugly?’ who spoke of her own struggles with insecurity which arose after multiple surgeries left her with significant scarring. It was truly inspiring to hear of how she overcame these insecurities and learned to embrace her differences, something which can definitely resonate with many teenage girls growing up within the social media bubble and the scrutiny which comes with it.

Overall, International Women’s Day was a grand success, which left us all feeling inspired and determined to ‘Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change’.