On 8th March 2023, Streatham & Clapham High School girls were urged by the US Ambassador to the UK to “keep breaking down barriers”.
In a speech to one of our South London school’s pupils to mark International Women’s Day, Ambassador Jane Hartley said there were not enough women in leadership positions and called on girls to “keep speaking up and breaking down barriers”.
Ms Hartley, who became the American representative in the UK last year, is only the second woman to hold the position and the first one in fifty years.
On a visit to Streatham & Clapham High School, Ms Hartley said: “We’ve come a long way in my lifetime in terms of how far and wide women can aim their ambition, we still have a long way to go.
“One of my heroes, Madeleine Albright, who was the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, said that ‘once you find your voice, you cannot remain silent’ because you can’t expect people to read your mind. So speak up. Raise your hand. And know that you are deserving of any goal you set your mind to.”
“Keep breaking down barriers so that every year, International Women’s Day is less and less about all the work we still need to do, and more and more about celebrating all the ways that women have moved the world forward.”
Speaking to 150 girls aged 14 to 17 on International Women’s Day, Ms Hartley said: “Keep breaking down barriers so that every year, International Women’s Day is less and less about all the work we still need to do, and more and more about celebrating all the ways that women have moved the world forward.”
More women in leadership roles
Ms Hartley revealed that when she walked into the US Embassy in London on her first day in the job she was shocked to see a wall with the names of all the former Ambassadors on it. There was just one other woman’s name and she served fifty years ago.
She said: “I thought to myself, it can’t be another fifty years until the next one….So while I’m very proud to be the second woman to serve as Ambassador to the UK, the truth is there should have been a lot more than that. We need more women in leadership roles.”