1 Apr 2022

Girls Rising Team Rename Houses and Challenge Gender Stereotypes

Organised by The Girls Rising Team, Women’s Week from March 14th to 18th, united and mobilised the student body. Events included the HERstories Creative Showcase, whole school workshops and House name changes.

The whole-school workshops delved into Disney’s evolving portrayal of women through three different time eras; Snow White (1937), Frozen (2013) and Encanto (2021). They analysed and identified numerous issues surrounding gender, social and cultural inequity and its effects. Middle and Senior Phase (Y9-13) students also explored ‘Killing Us Softly 4’, a documentary detailing the detrimental effects of gender stereotypes in advertising. 

Angela Chen, one of the Girls Rising Team student leaders said, “Both workshops were an eye-opening experience for many students, bringing to the fore today’s contemporary issues.”

The HERstories Creative Showcase, themed “Break the Bias”, encouraged students to break barriers by sharing their experiences about how societal norms can restrict young women. The team received over 20 submissions ranging from poetry to original songs to visual art. 

These submissions were uploaded daily on Island Currents, the new student newspaper. 

Island School’s Houses were renamed for two weeks to spotlight exemplary women from diverse cultural backgrounds who have not received as much media attention as they deserve. An initiative in its second year, the female figures spotlighted were Tsitsi Dangarembga for Da Vinci, Shirin Ebadi for Einstein, Elizabeth Fry for Fleming, Queen Nanny of the Maroons for Nansen, Sally Ride for Rutherford and Sarah Lee Wai-Sze for Wilberforce. Over 600 or 50% of the student body voted for the House name changes. The named changes were celebrated with student-designed virtual backgrounds and quizzes.

The ISGR will be re-implementing the House name changes for a longer time period. They plan to alter Island School’s House banners and sell House-themed enamel pins to raise funds for the Island School Trust, our very own school charity. This is part of The Girls Rising Team’s larger agenda, to campaign to permanently alter IS House names to spotlight diverse figures that more accurately represent the 35 different nationalities constituting the student body. They are currently listening to feedback on this from numerous school stakeholders.

Island School Girls Rising strives to drive substantial, sustainable change in Island School, ESF and beyond. Reach us and collaborate via email through isgirlsrising@gmail.com!