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At Croydon College and Coulsdon Sixth Form College we are extremely proud of all the achievements of our women students, staff, and alumni. Over 100 years ago, the first International Women’s Day gathering took place.

Although since then we’ve witnessed a significant change in attitudes towards equality, it is still more important than ever to raise awareness of gender bias and inequality that still takes place to this day.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge by challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality.

Our inspiring all-female Executive Team and our Foundation Degree Public Health and Social Care students celebrated International Women’s Day by raising their hands to show their commitment to #ChooseToChallenge.

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Croydon University Centre’s Programme Leader for Public Health and Social Care, Dr Pauline Aweto delivered a keynote address at an online conference, which focussed on strengthening human capacity against human trafficking in the era of COVID-19.

Pauline commented “There is the need to address and discourage demands that foster exploitation that leads to human trafficking; education and lack of access, a shift in values, traditions and culture that promotes and fosters gender inequality, silence and stigma”. She also called for a “focus shift from formal education to skills acquisition, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, and harnessing the under-utilised skills of informal education cemented in the experience that African women acquire in life in their traditional roles as wives and mothers.”

In addition, Croydon College reach out to four female poets from South London who performed original poetry on the theme of women and International Women’s Day.

Shaniqua Benjamin

‘Women are amazing and so incredibly strong, but don’t always get the credit we’re due, which makes celebrating women so wonderful and important.’


‘International Women’s Day is important to me as it’s day where all women of different races, countries, cultures and religions are celebrated and reminded of their powerful contributions to society. ‘

Paula Navarro Flores

‘International Women’s Day is a necessary event that hopefully one day will not be required, which recognises the countless accomplishments and advances of all women. We must not however think that this means equality has been reached. We must continue to question the norm and never forgot that there are millions of girls and women with little to no freedom or agency, and that we are surrounding by casual and unaware discrimination.’

Tyrese Holder

‘International Women’s Day holds an importance for me as women have been historically unappreciated, particularly black women. This day lets us recognise and celebrate the beauty, essence and strength of being a woman.’


Caireen Mitchell, Principal and CEO says: ‘International Women’s Day is not just a chance to celebrate the achievements of women globally and locally, but it’s also a chance to recognise that a gender equal world is far from reality. We mark International Women’s Day by reaffirming our commitment to playing what part we can to address this and so truly make a positive difference for women.’

We believe that by working together and acknowledging our inequalities that we will move forward in setting the agenda for gender and equality, not just across our collegiate but across the whole sector.

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