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Our ten inspirational IWD 2021 speakers

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

These are our incredible speakers supporting International Women's Day 2021. They include authors, mental health and equality campaigners, an engineer, an MP, governor and a comedian. Plus pupils past and present, parents and professionals.

Below you'll get a taste of who they are and what they'll be speaking about.


7pm start

Ellie Reeves

Member of Parliament for Lewisham West and Penge. Shadow Solicitor General (Labour).

'Women in Politics'

Ellie Reeves is the MP for Lewisham West & Penge and Shadow Solicitor General. Before entering Parliament she practiced as an employment rights lawyer for over ten years and then set up her own business providing help to working mums and women facing maternity discrimination. Her Parliamentary interests include justice, education and equality issues.


Sharon Kabubi

'Bet on yourself, always'

Sharon Kabubi was a former student of Sydenham School (2006-11) and in 2020 joined the School governing body as a Co-Opt Governor. Sharon is now the Co-Chair of the WFWP (Women’s Federation for World Peace) Young Women’s’ Speech Contest and was awarded WFWP Ambassador for Peace in 2017. Sharon is passionate about the achievement and contribution of young women in society. She believes in the championing of young people’s voices through community, education and upliftment.


Hope Virgo

'Me and My Best Friend Anorexia: #DumpTheScales'

Hope Virgo is an Author and a multi-award-winning international leading advocate for people with eating disorders. Hope is the founder of the #DumpTheScales campaign. Hope helps young people and employers (including schools, hospitals and businesses) to deal with the rising tide of mental health issues. Hope is also a recognised media spokesperson, having appeared on various platforms including BBC Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, Good Morning Britain, Sky News.


Sofia Noor

'Being resilient and doing what you want to do'

"I’m a 26 years old Site Manager for Bouygues UK. I grew up in east London, moving back and forth from Kenya. This disrupted my education but despite that I achieved a Masters in Structural Engineering. I love construction and am passionate about making it to the very top of this male dominated industry. I also love to travel, meet people from around the world and enjoy their architectures. I am really keen to help give young people the boost they need to do things they thought they couldn’t do."


Farrah Fernando & Kathryn Ferguson

'Unconscious Bias'

Farrah is a secondary student in Year 9 at Glenthorne High School in south London. In Year 7, Farrah along with 20 other students took part in the Channel 4 documentary “The School that tried to end Racism”. The documentary talks about racism and biases we hold due to the colour or our skin. Farrah really enjoyed the experience, and learnt a lot from it. Kathryn, Farrah’s mum, works in social media marketing. “I am very proud of Farrah’s participation in the documentary & her continued passion for ending racism”.

Kathryn Ferguson on Instagram



A video performance from Sydenham School’s Virtual Vocal Collective


Nina Stibbe

'Trusting my own voice'

Nina Stibbe is the author of 5 books. ‘Love, Nina’ (2013) – winner of the Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award at the National Book Awards 2014 – was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year, and adapted for BBC television. Her novels ‘Man at the Helm’ (2014) and ‘Paradise Lodge’ (2016) were both adapted for serialisation on BBC Radio 4. Her latest novel, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ (2019) won both the Everyman Bollinger Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and the Comedy Women in Print Award 2020.


Anna Alabau

'Approaching OCD as a superpower'

"I started my career in website production when I moved to London in 2012, from a background in animation and media. Four years and many life changes after, I decided my job needed a deeper meaning and I needed to make a difference with it. That's when I started working at Fat Beehive, to work with charities, not-for-profits and NGOs that make change happen."


Dr Sarabajaya Kumar

'Disability, Justice & Equality: A campaign to promote disabled women in politics'

Dr. Sarabajaya Kumar is an academic and activist who is passionate about social justice, ethical leadership, and equality. She has founded or co-founded several not-for-profit organisations, working with people facing disadvantage. Sarabajaya teaches international civil servants and civil society leaders at University College London. Her research interests include accountability, governance, intersectionality, and disability. An advisor on governance, Sarabajaya knows how critical diversity is to good decision-making and leadership.


Monique Dodounou,

Senior Head Prefect at Sydenham School

'Finding the hope, inspiration and courage, as young women, to overcome this challenging time'

Monique is a keen participant in the School's Debate Mate Team and part of the winning team on a number of National Debating Events. An enthusiastic fundraiser, Monique led a highly successful night of performance and song just before the first Lockdown, raising funds for Refuge, an organisation close to her heart. She is keen to support her fellow students and community at this challenging time and leads the production of 'The Spark', a newsletter written by students for students.

Ellie Gibson (top) and Helen Thorn (bottom)

Helen Thorn

'The serious business of being funny'

Helen Thorn is a stand up, author and Instagrammer and is one half of a mildly successful comedy duo called Scummy Mummies. Together with Ellie Gibson, she co-hosts the award winning Scummy Mummies Podcast and they tour the UK performing sell-out shows in gold catsuits. She is also a mother of two amazing children and two grumpy cats.


To close

Gloria Lowe – Sydenham School Head Teacher


Thanks to Hamptons and Taylored Lofts for supporting the event.



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