Staff and students at Stanmore College welcomed Harrow mayor Margaret Devine last month to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018.
Cllr Devine, who was formerly a student at the College, spoke of her time at the college, saying “Stanmore is important to me”, and then of having progressed to undertake a degree, working life, involvement in Harrow Women’s Centre, becoming a Councillor and now Mayor.
The Mayor made a point of acknowledging that more men were encouraging of women being empowered and that aspirations were for everyone. She added the importance of support and parenting to foster ambition in today’s young people.
Other speakers on the day included Janice Brown, Clinical Scientist at Mount Vernon Hospital, Charlotte Carvalho, Actuarial Associate at Price Waterhouse Cooper, Vasu Krishnaswamy, Head of Technical and Statistical Intelligence at Pearson and Sarbdip Noonan, Principal at Stanmore College.
Sarbdip Noonan spoke about her background as an Asian female being brought up in east London, attending the local state schools, raising her three children and emphasising how her daughter was as equal as her boys.
She said: “Women should overcome their fears, become emotionally strong, because inclusion, diversity and equality applies to everyone. Life will be hard at times, there will be turmoil and there will be trials, but we need to overcome these barriers and it’s this that makes us stronger, don’t give up, fight for what you believe in and get success.
“Looking at British politics, it was, as it still is, a very male dominated world, but things are beginning to change. We had a female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and now we have Theresa May – even the most patriarchal of societies, such as India and Pakistan, have had Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto, as their leaders!”
The event, organised by STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) student ambassadors, concluded with student, Maria Pope, delivering a rendition of a Romanian song which, translated into English, was called ‘Hats off to Women’.
The speakers were presented with flowers from Stanmore’s students in appreciation for their involvement.
Principal, Sarbdip Noonan, expressed pride in the students for having organised such an uplifting celebration.