The Gender Assembly

Introducing The Gender Assembly


The Gender Assembly is a one day conference bringing together a vibrant, energised and expert community of educators committed to addressing gender inequality in education.

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Because growing your tools to understand and challenge the ways in which gender inequality causes pervasive problems in schools is the most sustainable way of improving learning outcomes and life chances for pupils and transforming whole school cultures

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The Gender Assembly is primarily targeted at senior leaders and equalities professionals within secondary schools. Join us if you’re committed to driving meaningful and sustainable action to address inequality.

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Additional speakers to be announced. Sign up to our mailing list to stay updated!

Hanna Retallack

PhD student, UCL Institute of Education

Sam Freedman

Executive Director of Participant Impact and Delivery, Teach First

Sara Shahvisi

Director of Programmes, Fearless Futures

Alex Ferguson

Masculinities Facilitator and Psychotherapist

Rachael Curzons

COO, Fearless Futures

Rachel Cohen

Executive Director of Campaigns and Strategy, Stonewall
Professor Becky Francis

Professor Becky Francis

Director of UCL Institute of Education

Ben Hurst

European Project Coordinator, IMAGINE Project at The GREAT Initiative

Rosamund McNeil

Assistant Secretary General, Social Justice and Equality , National Education Union (NEU)

Professor Jessica Ringrose

Professor of Sociology of Gender and Education, UCL Institute of Education

Dr. Victoria Showunmi

Lecturer in Education, UCL Institute of Education

Afua Hirsch

Author, Journalist & Broadcaster


The Gender Assembly Schedule
08:30 - 09:00

Coffee & Registration


A brief introduction to the venue, topics and housekeeping.

Led By: Hanna Naima McCloskey (Founder and CEO, Fearless Futures)
Founder & CEO, Fearless Futures
Hanna Naima McCloskey


Led By: Tanya Barron (Chief Executive, Plan International UK)
Chief Executive, Plan International UK
Tanya Barron

Opening Address

Led By: Sam Freedman (Executive Director of Participant Impact and Delivery, Teach First)
Sam Freedman

Interactive Panel: “Why should we be talking about gender equality in schools?”

Expert panellists discuss the scale of the problem, the biggest challenges, and the barriers to progress.

Moderator: Afua Hirsch (Author, Journalist & Broadcaster)

  • Dr Victoria Showunmi (Lecturer in Education, UCL Institute of Education)
  • Rosamund McNeil (Assistant Secretary General, Social Justice and Equality , National Education Union (NEU))
  • Rachel Cohen (Executive Director of Campaigns and Strategy, Stonewall)
  • Ben Hurst (The Great Initiative)
  • Bennie Kara (Deputy Head of Aurelius School and WomedEd)
Ben Hurst
Rosamund McNeil
Rachel Cohen
Dr. Victoria Showunmi
Afua Hirsch
10:50 - 11:00

Tea & Coffee Break

BREAKOUT 1: Masculinities

Providing participants with a lens to viewing the behaviours of young men in their schools - and to widen their understanding of how to engage with the ‘crisis of boys’ and the impact that constructions of masculinity have on boys themselves, girls and any young people who transgress traditional ‘binaries’.

Led By: Alex Fergusson (Masculinities Facilitator and Psychotherapist)

Alex Ferguson
12:15 - 13:00


Keynote Speaker

Keynote: Professor Becky Francis (Director, UCL Institute of Education)

Q&A: moderated by Bukky Yusuf (Assistant Headteacher, Crest Academies and Co-Founder BAMEeD)
Professor Becky Francis
Professor Becky Francis

BREAKOUT 2: Sexual violence and sexual harassment

Children and young people’s experiences of sexual violence and harassment in British schools has reached a crisis point. While safeguarding policies and practices can address the consequences, how might schools work proactively on these issues, and co-produce interventions with young people themselves?


This 3-part session invites participants to consider the complex ways in which gender and sexual inequalities underpin sexual violence and harassment in schools, and how they can be supported in developing pedagogies for change. It will follow with 20 mins Q and A.

Led by: Professor Jessica Ringrose and Hanna Retallack (UCL Institute of Education), Victoria Edwards and Kate Marston (Cardiff University)

Victoria Edwards
Kate Marston
Hanna Retallack
Professor Jessica Ringrose
14:45 - 15:00

Tea & Coffee Break

What Next?

A participant-led session that will enable all attendees to work together to develop tools and strategies to genuinely tackle the inequality in their schools or institutions. Supported by an equalities specialist, each group will leave feeling empowered to affect change in their school without delay. Led by: Rachael Curzons and Sara Shahvisi, Fearless Futures
Rachael Curzons
Sara Shahvisi

Final Thoughts

Summary and Reflection: Kerry Smith (Plan UK International)



Pearson, 10th Floor
80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL
+44(0)207 697


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Delivery Partners

The Gender Assembly 2017 is brought to you by a consortium of charitable partners committed to ending gender inequality across society. Click on our logos to find out more!
  • The GREAT Initiative is a gender equality charity based in London.
  • Fearless Futures – For tomorrow's game-changing women
  • A global children's charity.

Sponsors & Supporters

With thanks to all our supporters including: