Two armchairs and a hail of applause greeted Hillary Clinton at her speech at the racecourse for the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Her words were striking, poignant, and held a clear message: 'I am not backing down'. Sexism was the main topic of the afternoon, along with her views of the evident corruption of the current president in her experience. "Anger is not a strategy" she reminded those present, looking down with deathly seriousness.
A noticeable point drawn upon was her description of the double standards in her line of work: her own qualities were manufactured by her upbringing, by her being a woman, and they aren't the picturesque view that people may have anticipated from the first female presidential candidate. People accepted her opponent's misogyny whilst finding her own calm speech unhuman-like, their levels of presentation at wildly different ends of a large scale. However, away from her character, people were not yet willing to have a woman in charge of the most powerful nation in the world - the internalised misogyny caused people to swing away from her.
One student was inspired by her drive to improve sexism for future generations, to teach young girls to be confident in themselves, to be confident to speak out and to also teach young boys to listen to girls as equals and not lessers. Equality starts young in both sides. Another student found it insightful to hear what the political climate is like from someone who has been inside it for such a long time, who has both witnessed it and been a part of it in a variety of different roles. Her determination was an incentive to everyone in the room to think more carefully about the decisions made, and also to remind them that politicians are human too.
Article by Lily Curle (Y12), whose report was highly commended by the organisers of this event, University of Gloucestershire. Lily was presented with a certificate and £50 prize money in whole school assembly by Jordan Allison from the university. Our thanks to the University of Gloucestershire for giving our girls this incredible opportunity.