Portsmouth High School | Duchess Sussex: ‘girls’ school was empowering’

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle said ‘attending a girls’ school was empowering’

I did not expect to find myself applauding the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, during half term but I was compelled to do so when she said attending a girls’ school was empowering.

Contrary to that experience I was asked to speak to a group of teenage students on a residential course and when I mentioned something about a girls’ school someone muttered “that’s unnatural”. It was not the occasion to tackle the student in front of the others on the course but this is what I wanted to say:

You do not understand what it is like to be at a single sex school because you do not attend one and therefore do not see what I observe on a daily basis. When the Duchess of Sussex talked about empowerment she did not mean just in the classroom but in life. The girls I meet, who are articulate and well adjusted young women, are not put off subjects thinking some are more suited to males than females. They meet the opposite sex and have boyfriends and in fact they have many friends of both sexes outside of PHS. This is because they do not feel threatened in social situations – they hold their own with charm and charisma. When they are at school they are focussed, supportive of each other and willing to have a go. They are not held back by anyone and least of all by themselves. It is interesting that those who are the most critical of single sex schools make their comment often out of ignorance and from a position of defence.

At the end of my lecture a female student came and told me she attended a girls’ school. Before she told me that I could have guessed because she was listening and not distracted whilst I was talking. She asked intelligent interesting questions and was not afraid to voice her point of view. The others listened when she spoke.

PHS is an excellent school and it happens to be a girls’ school.

I do hope you all had a good break and we look forward to the excitement of this next half term.