Winstanley College student, Adila Badri, spoke out against gender stereotypes in the workplace on International Women’s Day as part of Wigan Council’s live #ChooseToChallenge debate.
The former Deanery High School pupil, who is 17 and studying maths, biology, English literature and chemistry A-level, was invited to take part in the debate because of her role as Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Wigan.
Adila said: “Since I was elected as MYP for Wigan my role consists of attending youth cabinet sessions and working with the council and young people to accomplish my campaign around body image. I also listen to the problems of the community and put my energy and efforts into solving them, so I was delighted to be invited to take part in the debate.
“As well as discussing gender stereotypes, the debate also considered how best we can tackle the barriers that many women still face in the workplace.
“During the International Women’s Day debate I was asked about whether or not Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) and Person of Colour (POC) women faced additional barriers in accordance to sexism. I answered that ‘yes’, BAME and POC women do face additional barriers.
“Being a woman comes with a unique set of challenges, since for centuries we have reduced ourselves to what men have deemed ‘womanly’ which is kind of ironic.
“Being a BAME woman is even harder because for the most part it seems that no matter what you do you are never the right type of woman. It is this strange paradox of being both invisible and too visible, coveted and unwanted. This paradoxical existence makes it hard to pinpoint an identity and therefore harder to find a place where you belong. As a BAME young person it often feels like I’m doing twice the work for half the credit.
“This sentiment isn’t unique to me, every BAME person has a white-washed version of themselves that is more acceptable for society and frankly keeping up that appearance is exhausting.
“Although we have started to include women on the table, I cannot deny that for the most part it seems like a certain race of women are dominating those seats. And because of this when it comes to breaking down barriers for progress, women have to work overtime because they are not only removing sexist barriers but racist ones too.”
More than 140 people tuned into Wigan’s annual International Women’s Day panel debate following a week of activity to promote women’s rights.
Victoria Morgan, assistant principal over equality and diversity at Winstanley College, said: “We are really proud of Adila for taking part in the Council’s debate and for all the great work she is doing around tackling sexist and racist issues in her role as MYP.
“The college celebrated International Women’s Day and we are lucky to have students, such as Adila, who are so passionate about achieving equality for all. We will support the initiatives within the borough through educating, challenging opinions and celebrating diversity amongst the student population.”
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