Ideas for student action
Tips on how you can bring about change.
Students have a vital role to play in making schools places where girls and boys can learn and live as equals. If you want to challenge an unfair policy, ensure your school does more to stop sexual harassment, or raise awareness about sexism among your fellow students, below are some ideas on how you can bring about change.
1. Give a presentation during class or assembly
It may feel a bit daunting at first, but giving a talk during an assembly or in class is a great way to raise awareness and start a conversation among students. You could highlight UK Feminista and the National Education Union’s research on sexism in schools using our presentation slides (link below) and/or show a short film. Ask your teacher about how to get permission to give a talk – and explain to them why you think it is important that you have an opportunity to deliver it.
2. Organise a stall
Grab others students’ attention by organising a stall during lunch or break time. You may want to coincide with a significant date or event – such as International Women’s Day on 8th March. You could hand out information, collect signatures for a petition, or sell cakes to raise money for a local women’s charity!
“Armed with lots of support from UK Feminista and our Sociology teacher, we began with allocating roles, then set off – making badges, planning assemblies, creating posters and setting up social media sites. By spreading awareness we hope to create an environment in school where sexual harassment is a rarity and everyone feels safe.”
– Hanane, secondary school student
3. Run a campaign
If there is something that you want to change, you could run a campaign to make it happen! For instance, 17 year-old Jessy McCabe successfully campaigned for female composers to be added to an A-Level music syllabus after finding that the syllabus only included male composers. Use UK Feminista’s guide to help you get started:
4. Write an article for your school newspaper
If your school has a newsletter or newspaper, write an article to raise awareness amongst students and teachers. You could write an article to coincide with a particular event – such as the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, or highlight a relevant issue in the news – like the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault – and how it relates to girls at your school.
5. Invite a speaker to visit your school
Invite a speaker to come and give a talk at your school. You could raise awareness among students about women’s inequality by inviting a representative from a local women’s organisation, or challenge stereotypes by inviting a woman working in a male-dominated field to speak about her experiences. Before inviting the speaker, get permission from a teacher and find out when and where you could hold the talk.
6. Start a feminist group
By setting up a feminist society in your school you can create a regular, dedicated space for students to come together to learn about and discuss sexism – as well as plan actions and campaigns. Use UK Feminista’s guide on running a feminist group to get started.