Yesterday (Wednesday 8 March) marked this year’s International Women’s Day, and EKC Group staff and students were out in force to celebrate the occasion.
Events took place across our Colleges to empower women and amplify their voices, promoting role models who inspire our staff and students on a daily basis.
Canterbury College’s Students’ Union set up stalls in the centre of the College, getting passers-by to make pledges of support, meanwhile a panel of five women did a Q & A session on a range of topics. Coming from a range of professional and academic fields, they talked to our students about overcoming adversity, inspiration, combatting self-doubt, and how to succeed in the future.
The student audience also got some wise words on how to excel in their careers, with entrepreneur Bernie saying: “When you’re young, you spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s opinions of you. As you get older, you start to realise how unimportant those opinions were and are.
“The biggest barriers I ever faced were ones I put there myself. Just be confident that the way you’re doing things is right and, if you do make a mistake, then that’s just an opportunity to find another, better way of doing something.”
When speaking about who inspires them, Astronomy PhD student Carys said: “When people refer to role models, they often pick out a particular woman who’s made a big achievement in their field or a celebrity. But for me, the people that have the largest impact on me are family members, friends and the people in my department.
“My advice for students is to fight self-doubt by listening to the people who care about you, believing the positive things they say about you, and to make sure you hold onto those people.”
Ethnobotanist PhD student Hallie directed her praise at the students, saying: “My inspiration is all of you. Before starting my PhD I was a youth worker for four years, and I see that much of the leadership towards progress in areas like gender equality and the climate comes from your generation. I’m so excited to see what interests you and what you all go on to achieve.”
At Ashford College, students’ classes had International Women’s Day activities which promoted the achievements of women throughout history as well as raising awareness of issues including the gender pay gap and crimes against women.
Students from Broadstairs College’s ESOL department visited the Turner Contemporary yesterday, where the venue was hosting an ‘As We Are’ event in celebration of the day. This highlighted opportunities for women in the local area and the College’s own team were running a stall there throughout the day.