After-school club that highlights inspiring women goes digital during pandemic

Witchford Village College's The Female Lead after-school club has gone digital because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Witchford Village College's The Female Lead after-school club has gone digital because of the Covid-19 pandemic. - Credit: WITCHFORD VILLAGE COLLEGE

An after-school club that focuses on the representation of women in the media, gendered language and perceptions of women has gone digital during the pandemic. 

Witchford Village College started the club in order to get its female students involved and engaged in conversations surrounding topics such as challenging traditional gender expectations. 

As part of the club, students and teachers discuss the stories of women from all backgrounds and careers with an aim of 'showing girls that anything is possible'.

As part of the extra-curricular club, students have been tasked with choosing an inspirational female who they then research and explore the challenges they may have faced. 

So far, as a group they have considered focussing on the following: the suffragettes, Ada Lovelace, Sienna Mae Gomez, Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Florence Nightingale. 

The group has also discussed the problematic nature of “the marriage plot”; often, in literature when a female protagonist marries her narrative subsequently closes - a topic which the students have been keen to explore in more detail.

Charlotte Doswell, lead for KS3 English and parental engagement and leader of the club at Witchford Village College, said: “Running such an important club and engaging female students throughout our whole school is a fantastic experience and one that I’m glad we’ve been able to continue while students are studying from home. 

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"I have been blown away by the group’s self-determination and enthusiasm for the project and can’t wait to get stuck into the key themes and topics that we’re set to cover over the coming weeks.”

The Female Lead is an educational charity that aims to 'make women’s stories more visible' and 'offer alternative role models to those ever-present in popular culture'. 

Bessie Owen, head of school at Witchford Village College, said: “The Female Lead is a real asset to our college, with each session allowing participants to engage in meaningful discussions, challenge apathy and discover the interconnectivity of many aspects of life and career. 

"I am proud of both staff and students for how effortlessly they have made the transition to online working and glad that important clubs such as this can be maintained."