Man Up? It’s International Women’s Day

Can I throw a curveball in the face of today’s International Women’s Day?

If so, I’d like you to watch Guante’s 10 Responses to the phrase ‘Man Up’. Today we are mindful of women: how far we have come in terms of having the same opportunities as men enjoy, but also acknowledging that there is still a huge way to go before there is gender parity. Yet I think, in our battle, we need to consider men and the journey they are currently on.

Our major focus this year is young people’s mental health. Our aim is to ensure that the tutors working for us are clued up on mental health issues that young people face and are able to support their students emotionally as well as academically. Everyone is engaged in a battle to get on in life – to do well at school or work, be happy with their family and friends, feel comfortable with themselves as a person… and everyone, male or female, needs support with that.

I do what I do as I am passionate about helping young people achieve, whether that’s obtain a place at Oxbridge, get a couple of GCSEs and move onto vocational training, or even just feel a little bit more positive about themselves. I’ve always considered myself very lucky in that I have not felt restricted as to what I can achieve. I’ve never faced any discrimination (well, not that I have been aware of!); I know this gives me a rose-tinted view of the world but I hope that my optimism can still rub off on others. Guante’s poetry talks about breaking free from expectations of gender and society and I think this is a lesson that everyone needs to strive for.

Lucy Cawkwell