March 8, 2019, at 8:30am
It’s International Women’s Day and we have been celebrating each day this week with a profile of a female OU. Today, we feature one of our youngest OUs, Rebecca Askew (L 16). She has been teaching English for the last three months in the far north of Thailand with an organisation called the Karen Hilltribes Trust, the experience funded with a grant from the Friends of Uppingham.
“The trip to Thailand has been the first time I've stepped foot in Asia and like my mother, I entered foreign realms with no knowledge of the language or of the country. It brought to reality how she taught me every skill needed to traverse womanhood. I'm so lucky to have had such incredible guidance.”
Before heading off to University in Sussex to study International Development in September, she’ll be working as a tutor with children with special needs in a Leicester comprehensive.
We asked Rebecca how her educational experience can help others and what influence Uppingham had on her:
OU team: You’ve already packed a lot into your life! How has being a woman helped or hindered you?
Rebecca: The simple fact of being a woman is hard, biologically and socially. I'm convinced that being a teenage girl is even harder with all the pressure delivered to the screens right at our fingertips, but I feel there's a movement in the right direction.
However, in the past couple years I've seen a seismic shift in attitudes towards feminism / gender equality, and this growing awareness has definitely paved the way for a better future for me. I have been encouraged to move mountains by some inspirational women in my life. Overall, I feel the advantage of being female much more than the adversity it has so often entailed in the past.
OU team: How has being at Uppingham influenced you?
Rebecca: It’s taught me to falter at nothing to achieve what I want. I had the fortune to live amongst some of the most strong and ambitious girls I have ever encountered in an institution that indiscriminately encourages creativity and curiosity. At Uppingham, being a woman is beside the point; we're all here to explore our talents and interests. Its resources, opportunities and experiences helped me to build the version of myself best fit for making the world a better place. I was taught by example to raise my voice and opinions with confidence and I was taught a self-belief that will carry through my life for years to come.
OU team: How does society need to change to ‘balanceforbetter’?
Rebecca: Cultural acceptance of gender equality is improving, but things need to happen top-down if we're to see a real difference. The people with power must recognise how much society will flourish when they invest in people regardless of gender, ethnicity, background….
I'm confident that change is happening already. As long as we continue to ingrain these values into employers and policy-makers of the future we're on track for good stuff.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter and we would love to hear how you are helping to achieve this. If you would like to share your story and tell us how you champion equality, please let us know via our Social Media channels:
LinkedIn: share your business or professional news on the dedicated OU network
Instagram: upload your photo using the #’s #OU and #balanceforbetter
Facebook: tell us which women most inspire you, adding #OU and #balanceforbetter
Twitter: share your business or professional news, adding #OU and #balanceforbetter