North East Girls are #EachForEqual for International Women’s Day

An all-girls engineering team from the North East is making a stand for equality as they power through to the UK finals of an international competition.

The SuffraJETS – Maia and Adelle, aged 13, and Orla, Darcie and Rachel, 12, all pupils at Valley Gardens Middle School, Whitley Bay - are members of a successful all-female team who are representing the North East in this year’s international F1 in Schools competition. They marked International Women’s Day by encouraging their school and community to get involved in making equality between women and men an everyday reality.

Using the International Women’s Day hashtag #EachforEqual, they promoted equal access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education and careers across their social media channels, as well as by presenting a special assembly at school, selling souvenir pens and organising for all Valley Gardens pupils to have the chance to write their own pledge about what they will do to challenge inequality every day.

They have also raised awareness of their team’s mission in the wider community by giving a talk at the Soroptimist International Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and District Club on 9th March.

Maia and Adelle, joint SuffraJETS Team Managers, said:

“Getting more girls into STEM subjects and then into engineering careers is really important to us and is a big part of why we are working so hard on the F1 in Schools competition. For International Women’s Day, it’s even more important that our message is heard. The #EachforEqual campaign is all about everyone speaking up to challenge inequality that they come across in their daily lives, and by doing that we can all help to make the world more equal for everyone.”

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. The IWD2020 campaign included a focus on Women in Tech, Women at Work and Women Entrepreneurs, all of which link with the SuffraJETS’ team mission. Although International Women’s Day has been marked for over 40 years, it is still true today that not a single country in the world can say it has achieved gender equality.

Young people are especially important to this year’s IWD2020 campaign, as 2020 marks 25 years since the UN set out a roadmap for equality in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. UN Women are running a linked campaign called Generation Equality, looking at what has (and hasn’t) been achieved in gender equality terms over the last 25 years.

The SuffraJETS are competing in the international F1 in Schools competition, the largest STEM competition globally, which sees teams from around the world designing, manufacturing and racing gas-powered F1-inspired cars at regional, national and worldwide competition stages. They will be representing the North East at the UK finals in Bristol in early April.

David Godfrey, Headteacher at Valley Gardens Middle School, said:

“We are so proud of our all-female F1 in Schools team and wish them every success at nationals. They are fantastic ambassadors for a very important message about equality in education that chimes with our school values and the way we run our school community. Go SuffraJETS!”

Louise Bower, President of the Soroptimist International Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and District Club, said:

“The Soroptimists work to transform the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. We sponsored the SuffraJETS because their mission fits perfectly with the aims of Soroptimist International and our local club. All our members have been so impressed with their hard work and we can’t wait to hear about their latest achievements.”

The SuffraJETS are crowdfunding for their uniforms and display at the national competition and welcome all donations to their JustGiving page.

They are also on the lookout for sponsorship from businesses who support their equality mission. New sponsors would be joining the girls’ impressive group of existing sponsors including Nissan, who produced the girls’ competition car, Soroptimist International Tynemouth Whitley Bay and District, Leadsquad Ltd., Custer Design who produced the girls’ uniforms and Aircards who are supporting the girls to produce augmented reality business cards.

As a result of their success at the regional competition, the SuffraJETS received £1,000 from the Reece Foundation, a North East based fund founded by renowned local business leader Dr Alan Reece, to support their trip to the national final.

Orla, Sponsorship Manager in the successful all-female team, said:

“We are so excited that we got through the North East regional stage of the F1 in Schools competition and that we’ll be representing the whole of the North East at the UK nationals in Bristol on 2nd and 3rd of April. A big thank you to Valley Gardens Middle School, the Reece Foundation, to all our sponsors, and to everyone who has supported us on social media.”

Follow the SuffraJETS on social media: @Suffra_JETS on Twitter and @f1_suffrajets on Instagram.

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