The Stephen Perse Foundation welcomed author and activist Laura Bates to give an inspiring talk about her experience and work in combatting sexism and harassment.
6th Form student James S tells us about his experience interviewing author and activist Laura Bates:
'On Thursday 14 February, we had the incredible opportunity to meet and interview the author and feminist, Laura Bates. Known for setting up the Everyday Sexism project and writing Girl Up, Laura has a wealth of opinions, ideas and experiences. With the help of Ms. Santiago-Val, Emma, Ash, Fran, Olivia and I worked on thinking up questions to ask such a knowledgeable and inspiring speaker. Firstly, we read Laura’s new book, entitled “The Burning,” something that raised much group discussion and many interesting questions. We set out using the themes in this book as a starting point for the questions we might ask, including issues of how young women are shamed, blamed and unfairly criticised from an early age and what can be done to put an end to this. We then gathered our own research, finding out about modern issues and debates, such as the role of social media and the way PSHE is taught in schools. Then we also thought about how we could tackle these issues in our everyday lives, something that we decided to ask Laura about.
Furthermore, we talked to Laura about the myths and misconceptions that surround feminism, how we can help to stop sexual harassment and bring about gender equality in schools and the workplace and call out unfairness and discrimination when we see it. To summarise Laura Bates’ thought-provoking book without giving away any spoilers, it compares the hardship and suffering faced by a teenage girl in the modern day, to a girl caught up in the “Witch Crazes” centuries earlier. We found it particularly interesting that Laura spoke about how witch-hunts and bullying persist even today online. Through this, she highlighted just how similar the harassment and hounding of women today is. As a panel, we were fascinated by the her clever and empowering arguments, that inspired everybody in the room. Laura was kind enough to offer to sign books for anyone there, something that was immensely popular. Ms. Kelleher spoke at the end, concluding that the event empowered us all to stand up for what is right. We left having had the chance to speak with a phenomenal speaker, feeling inspired to change what is wrong in the world and take action to end the sexism and misogyny today.'