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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Editor’s comment: Mrs Obama is not EGA’s only role model

PUBLISHED: 15:35 05 December 2018

Michelle Obama visiting Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in 2009. Picture: Lawrence Jackson/The White House

Michelle Obama visiting Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in 2009. Picture: Lawrence Jackson/The White House

This photograph is provided by THE WHITE HOUSE as a courtesy and may be printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal

It was great to see Michelle Obama honouring her decade-long connection to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School with a third visit on Monday.

Perhaps you’d feel a bit hard done by if you ran any of Islington’s other schools, but it’s great to see Mrs Obama’s relationship with EGA continue to grow.

For my money, though, an equally important return visitor was Winnie Mac. A schoolgirl who witnessed Mrs Obama’s first visit in 2009, she’s now grown up into a chemistry graduate who, in her early 20s, already has a patent (jointly) in her name.

If the point of Mrs Obama’s trip to EGA was to inspire students, people like Winnie were the best case studies she could possibly have had at her disposal. As the former first lady said in her memoir, it’s a sad truth that many of the girls at EGA will face obstacles in their lives because of their gender, race and class. A report published in a national paper this week found people from minority ethnic backgrounds are often still unfairly overlooked for promotions, targeted and stereotyped by police, and underrepresented in top jobs and higher education.

Winnie, like Mrs Obama, is a role model for the girls at her school. That is so valuable in tackling inequality.

• I’m led to believe our enquiries in August about what had happened to the CS1 link in Balls Pond Road ruffled a few feathers at City Hall – to the point that days later the council in charge of the project (Hackney) announced plans to build it at last.

It’s hard to know what to make of Hackney’s complete PR blackout on the topic since then – it didn’t even think to tell us, never mind the wider public, that the consultation was open at last. The point of a consultation is that people answer it; I reckon those people have to know about it first.

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