EMPOWERING YOUNG WOMEN: THINKING INDEPENDENTLY AND BEING CONFIDENT
In today’s society, it is important for young women to have the knowledge and skills to navigate life with confidence. Brentford School for Girls hosted a PSHE afternoon event for their students that offered Year 12 students a range of sessions on topics such as women’s health, sexual health, emotional resilience and money management. These sessions were designed to promote independent thinking and encourage young women to be confident in themselves.
These sessions were designed to be engaging, informative and empowering. A safe space for open discussion and learning, and allowed space for questions and actively participation in the sessions.
Here are the topics that were covered during that afternoon:
Session 1: Women’s health
In this session, the aim was to empower students with knowledge about their body including key terminology related to female anatomy, menstrual health, and the importance of regular check-ups. Students were taught about two conditions that may affect women and those assigned female at birth; Endometriosis and Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome. These health conditions affect 10% of the female population worldwide and students left the session knowing the main symptoms of these conditions, as well as advice on where to get support for it.
Session 2: Sexual health
Students were reminded of the three categories of STI (bacterial, viral and parasitic) and given insight into the main symptoms of these. Barrier contraceptives are the only form that prevent unwanted pregnancy as well as minimising the risk of contracting a STI and students were taught about how to check the efficacy of these. The use of contraceptives is the responsibility of both parties - and students were empowered to feel confident enough to use their voices in order to express their boundaries in this instance.
Session 3: Money management
Warren Buffett once said, “The more you learn, the more you earn” - and nothing was truer for students in this session. The game of life can be fickle and money can be a great tool to provide security and freedom, but only if you make savvy financial decisions. Students were exposed to the range of expenses they may encounter whilst at University and suffice to say, they were shocked to see just how quickly £1000 would last them in a month. One student stated that their key takeaway from all four sessions was, ‘how much money you actually spend when you get into adulthood, I didn’t realise how expensive it actually is’.
Students were given information about apps and services that can support them with making informed financial decisions as they transition into adulthood.
Session 4: Erasing self-limiting beliefs
Welcome to the Rage Room! After a discussion about the emotion and mental strain of becoming a successful 6th former, students were given the opportunity to face their self-limiting beliefs and demolish them in the ‘Rage Room’. Pupils were able to address the negative thoughts they may experience and write them down on a paper plate. They then ripped these to shreds and gave key affirmations in order to boost their self-esteem and positive self-talk. Self-affirmations have been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress (Sherman et al., 2009; Critcher & Dunning, 2015) and students felt empowered after the session, with one feeding back, ‘(it is important not to) shy away from making yourself healthy and safe because you feel like you don’t deserve that happiness’.
Thinking independently and being confident in themselves are two critical traits young women need to succeed in life. The PSHE afternoon at Brentford Sixth Form aimed to provide young women with the right information and skills that can empower them to think independently and believe in themselves. Embracing their unique talents, overcoming self-doubt, seeking inspiration from role models, developing a growth mindset, and surrounding themselves with positive energy are essential steps young women can take to reach their full potential. It is important to instil these qualities in young women early in life, which will help them overcome obstacles with confidence.
Contact Gita Agnihotri, Head of 6th Form, for more information about taking A-levels at the school GAgnihotri@brentford.hounslow.sch.uk.