Northampton schoolgirls gained valuable insight into how to ‘step-up’ and help peers they see being harassed following a visit from a University of Northampton lecturer.
Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Kimberley Hill was one of the expert guests invited by Northampton High School for Girls to take part in a ‘workshop carousel’ during a school conference which focused on inspiring and empowering young women to tackle gender inequalities in all aspects of their lives.
Dr Hill’s workshop focused on ‘bystander intervention’, or when and why people help – or do not help – others who are in need.
Dr Hill provided a safe place for the girls to discuss their experiences of being a bystander. They worked through case study examples of what might stop them from stepping in if they saw others in trouble.
The aim was for them to develop their own solutions here and make pledges of what they will do if they face a situation like this in the future.
Time for Change – Dr Kimberley Hill during her workshop at Northampton Girls School.
The conference, called ‘Time for Change’, follows in the wake of the high profile #MeToo campaign, in which women and men working in film and TV came forward to voice allegations of past sexual assault in the entertainment industry.
The workshop focused on empowering young women by giving them the knowledge and skills to stand up, speak and take action about these issues.
The conference included a keynote speech from Carole Stronach, Executive Director of Global Real Estates and Facilities from Avon who spoke about her career and personal achievements, as well as sessions related to careers, legal rights and interactive workshops on reclaiming one’s voice and self-defence.
Dr Hill said: “I was honoured to be invited to contribute to this important event, which focused on inspiring and empowering young women in all aspects of their lives.
“Our own research into sexual harassment, assault and violence suggests one in four young women have experienced this or have observed it happening to others. For various reasons, most would not report it.
“This is why we need to not only tackle the culture within universities, but also start earlier within schools by talking about consent, relationships and other related behaviour. This is why workshops such as this are so important, especially at that this stage in young women’s lives.
“At University of Northampton, we hope to develop further research into this and, hopefully, move toward informed interventions becoming embedded into High School curricula, for girls as well as boys. This is important because there is a need to change the culture and tackle prevailing norms as these are not just women’s problems to solve.”
Head of Sixth Form Julia Cantwell added: “Thank you so much for delivering the excellent dynamic and practical workshop at our Conference and setting the perfect tone for the day. The girls really appreciated your input and the clear messages you gave will stick with them.
“I hope we can all work together again in the future as the Conference was truly innovative, relevant and extremely well received by both our students and our guests from Weston Favell.”