Dr Nina Ansary wrote in Anonymous Is A Woman, a chronicle of global gender inequality that features extraordinary women throughout history – “it’s hard to be what we cannot see.”  That is why The Mount School, York’s only all-girl School for girls age 3-18, believes it is important to show girls positive fmeal role models.  

This year The Mount School, launched an Online Speakers series, hosted by College girls, inviting eminent women to speak to and inspire girls. In the first event, on International Women’s Day, Baroness Hale, the first-ever woman President of the Supreme Court, discussed her life and career. During the online Question and Answer session with pupils from The Mount and invited schools, Lady Hale shared insights and wisdom from her career. Girls came away understanding that, even though women today have greater freedoms than in the past, diversity and representation are important in achieving freedoms that make people feel included.  

“The fact that Baroness Hale coped against sexism in the past and overcame it to become the first female President of the Supreme Court was genuinely inspiring.” - Denva (College II)   

In late June, world leading orangutan expert Dr Birute Galdikas, addressed girls from the Junior School and Senior School plus invited guests, from her research centre on the US West Coast. 2021 marks 50 years since this remarkable woman first began studying orangutans in the wild. She spoke about her work with animals and the challenges faced today to protect the primates and their endangered habitat.  

“I found Dr Galdikas’ talk very admirable. The work she has done to study and protect orangutans is impressive. She inspired us to help. How can we help? Plant trees! Every little bit helps, so the more trees, the less carbon in the atmosphere and we can help mitigate climate change together. ” - Abigail (College I)  

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The College Leadership Teams acted as compères at the online events, confidently chatting to these monumental women. The impact on younger girls seeing their peers interact with globally significant women powerfully connects them to a mindset which knows, “we can do anything.”  #weknowgirlscan. Once restrictions began to lift in School, the all-girl School also invited other inspirational women into the School. In June, Team GB sprinter, Amy Hillyard visited on behalf of #SportsForChampions. She gave a rousing presentation to girls, in both the Junior School and Senior School, about her pathway to becoming a high-performance athlete. She then went on to coach the year groups through drills and circuits, which they very much enjoyed!  

“It was really fun. It was really cool to see an athlete and train with them!” - Edith (Year 5)  

To promote National Writing Day 2021, The Mount were delighted to welcome author and illustrator Ailsa Burrows to the Junior School. Ailsa showed the children examples of the drawings and final paintings for her book, The Jar of Happiness along with sketchbooks and early mock-ups of the book. Ailsa read the story and talked about the main character’s feelings. The children then drew a person or object that makes them feel happy. 

It is not just well-known or professional women who can inspire Mount girls. Older girls at The Mount are superb role models for younger ones. At The Mount, a girl occupies every role, every part in the musical, every seat on the School council, and every position in the team. There are never-ending opportunities for them to show those in the younger years that they can achieve, be capable leaders, be kind, and make a difference.   

The new College Leadership Team began their first week visiting the younger years during Form Time, to share with them their vision for the School and the College Leadership Team over the upcoming academic year, and to invite girls to approach them with their own ideas. The outgoing College Leaders were full of praise for the new team.   

“The new Team are strong, independent young women whom I have no doubt will be exceptional role models and lead the School into the future.” - Georgia (College II) 

Older girls are also valuable in helping younger girls settle into School. College girls act as mentors to Year 7 girls. They help them with life in the Senior School and provide another friendly face if their young charge should need any help. Nutcrackers recently met up with Year 7 girls to discuss how their first year at The Mount has gone.  

“My mentor is really kind, we have so much in common. After I found out that she was my mentor she messaged me instantly on TEAMs to see if I had any problems, which was very nice.” - Neve (Year 7)  

Over the next year, College girls along with staff will help younger girls understand the issues teenage girls face surrounding the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ initiative. Involving the older girls gives them a greater sense of responsibility whilst also helping the younger girls better understand topics as they relate more to their peers.  

As Dr Nina Ansary said – “it’s hard to be what we cannot see.” However, at The Mount girls see and believe what they can be every day. 

To find out more about The Mount School York and the many benefits of an all-girl education visit mountschoolyork.co.uk to registered for their Open Day on Saturday 9 October, 10am-1pm.