Donna Stevens, GSA CEO, responds to The Times article: ‘Power of ‘old girls’ network: 12 private schools rule Who’s Who list’

Donna Stevens, GSA CEO, responds to The Times article: ‘Power of ‘old girls’ network: 12 private schools rule Who’s Who list’

11 November 2022

“GSA has always championed girls and women. It always will.

So, it’s of no surprise to see some GSA schools highlighted as achieving transformational outcomes for women in the paper published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education.

It’s time to acknowledge how brilliant women’s futures can be when they have the same opportunity as their male counterparts in education and in life, and specifically in schools that respect girls and understand them.

The suggestion of an elite ‘old girls’ network isn’t an accurate representation of the powerful and important work all girls’ schools do, and it doesn’t reflect how girls’ schools act as positive agents of change to benefit the whole of society – always driving towards a more gender equitable world.

As fellow researchers, we always welcome insight into the effects of education on girls’ progress in the world.  But research papers are often necessarily narrow and can miss finer details. It’s important we understand the deeper value and meaning of an education for girls that acknowledges the tireless work of women and their allies over centuries to challenge a system that has systematically minimised them. At GSA we celebrate women who have the self-belief, educational resource, and resilience to rise in the world and make it a better world for the women of the future.

Every GSA school strives for the best outcomes for young women.  Every GSA school has been created with young women’s best interests in mind, understanding what girls want and need to succeed to achieve their own ambitions in the wider world. GSA is hugely proud to be a community made up of schools from both the state and independent sectors to act in a powerful cross-sector partnership, and to have schools that work in their own communities with local school partners –to always put girls first.  Our mission is to provide access to brilliant education for as many girls as possible from every background, across the UK and internationally.  With the aim to help as many women take their rightful place in the world.

The fact is, that the world is not as it should be for girls and women today, the EU is three generations away from gender equality and shows a dismal rate of improvement in recent years. At the current rate, gender parity is still a long way off.

I will personally welcome the day when we are living in a gender-equal world because that will mean our members, our schools, and GSA have been triumphant in our mission. Until that point, however, there is still much work to be done!”

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