Today and every day, Oakhill celebrates the achievements of women. Centred around our IWD 2021 event, the College has been involved in several initiatives. Led by our IWD Committee and with staff and students' assistance, we produced a video that highlighted why we feel it's important to choose to challenge in 2021. In Tutor Time, this video was shown to students and then further discussed. We allowed students to write an individual pledge about what they choose to challenge, and sign their name to our pledge banner. From this we received a considerable number of pledges and support and placed the pledges around our CSC foyer. Our students also created purple ribbon pins which we wear with pride for IWD and accepted donations for Share the Dignity and San Miguel charities.

Oakhill's #IWD2021 event included Guest Speakers: Rawah Arja and Elisabeth Goh who are well placed to speak about choosing to challenge stereotypes and gender bias. They spoke honestly to the audience about the importance of using your voice to call out bad behaviour and stand up when something is not right, to find healthy relationships with people based on your values. One of the many anecdotes they shared included not self-discounting, but to remain positive and true, to follow your passion and invest in yourself allowing you to flourish and find your purpose.

Their experiences resonated with the audience as they spoke candidly of dealing with bias and discrimination around their capabilities and place in society, not only outside of their household but sometimes from within. To seek out mentors and supporters who understand there is no pressure to fit a certain mould. Their heartfelt stories reminded us to value sisterhood and authenticity and not to be influenced by social media.

As so many of our female students are on the cusp of leaving the safe environment at Oakhill to enter the 'real world', it is timely to remember that it is not the size of the challenge that we are judged, but how we react and stand up that counts.

A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So, let's all #choosetochallenge.

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