Posted: 9 December, 2013

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves


“Standing on their own two feet and ringing…their own bell…!” Annie Lennox with the Eurythmics got it right with the lyrics for this 1985 hit.  Watch YouTube 2009; one to dance to!

It’s 2013 and the pressure is still on girls to overcome the barriers put up by men in business and the professions to advancement up the promotional ladder. Have a read of Sheryl Sandberg “Lean In”; download to your mobile. Yet these men are mostly husbands and fathers, what are they thinking about? At Putney we aim to change this, not with our own Dads …because they are the enlightened ones…but out there in the world of employment.  The old boy network at mixed and boys schools can be very demeaning to students and women as they forge their careers and balance their growing families. “Decoding Your 21st Century Daughter” by Dr Helen Wright is a good source of advice to parents wanting advice about bringing up teenagers in current times.

At Putney ours is a can-do, do-do attitude. The PHS girls who achieved those terrific A Level results displayed in the Sunday Times parent Power survey recently returned in November to Prizegiving to be addressed by Old Girl Shireen Jilla: print and television journalist, novelist and Mum.  As a leading London day school we excelled not only in academic outcomes but also in Music and Sport where we were champions or finalists in 56 competitions.

Now women are not angry but impatient to achieve as much as men in business and the professions- we want equality; we can have it all and we want it now! At Putney we do this aided by our loyal Old Girls, our alumnae.  “We cannot promise heaven but with support of other women we can avoid hell!” says Dr Kate Winser, on the Board of M&S running Women’s Wear, then running Aquascutum, Pringle and now Winser, London.

So at Putney we support our girls to do it for themselves, standing on their own two feet and ringing their own bell. Ours is a celebratory, can-do atmosphere with pupils and staff rapping, comedy workshops, debating, masses of co-curricular activities and study trips across the continents; here, creativity is intellectual fun, in all disciplines.

Our 2013 leavers are now PHS alumnae – Old Girls – who will return for our “Five Years On” reunion in 2018.  But even before that they will be attending alumnae lunches for our current Sixth Formers, inputting as main speakers to our Careers Focus Evenings so that our current Y9-Y13 students can be inspired by loyal committed alumnae who give them the secrets of their success and, just as importantly… their contact details, they offer to help any girl at any stage with their career.  So our role models are right here, right now helping our current students fast track themselves towards degrees, careers and families too!

Putney High School Old Girls & Alumnae: Our Secret Weapon!

Denise V. Lodge, Headmistress

December 2013

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