Sheringham

Inspirational visitor for Sheringham students

Just Regional
Mar 24, 2015 3 mins read

The message was clear from Miriam González Durántez to students at Sheringham High School this afternoon . . . “Whatever you want to be, try to be the very best”.

And, despite being a fierce campaigner for women’s rights, she aimed the message equally at boys and girls, saying: “Men and women should have the same opportunities and the same freedom to choose things. Life should never be women against men or men against women.”

Ms Durántez was talking to small groups of students from year 10 at the high school and first-year sixth form students. The wife of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was joined by North Norfolk MP and Health Minister Norman Lamb visiting the school before a question and answer ticketed event at The Cliftonville in Cromer.

The year 12 students chatted to the international lawyer about opportunities for girls and the misconception that traditionally male-dominated subjects like maths and physics were for “geeks”.

“The average girl in Shanghai beats the top 10% of boys in the UK in maths and physics so it’s about effort and not gender,” she said.

She also extolled the virtues of learning another language. “You are lucky here because everybody speaks English, but if you can speak another language it gives you the edge.”

She said knowing the language of a country was very important. “It’s a matter of respect. Being able to communicate with people in other languages is my bread and butter.”

Despite gaining a law degree, she did not settle on that as a career immediately. She told the students: “I started off wanting to be a doctor but was appalling with blood.” She also thought about becoming a writer or a diplomat but finally turned back to law.

She didn’t have a plan, she said, the opportunity came up and she advised: “Relax about the plan and go with the choices.”

He choices have meant balancing her career with being the wife of an MP and the mother of three boys. “There’s a lot of testosterone in the house,” she said. But she said she was lucky enough to have family, friends and help to support the family.

She is also blessed with a sense of humour, which she says helps her keep it all in perspective and to help her deal with criticism of herself and her husband. “You just have to remember it’s not personal,” she said.

Read the full story and find out what the students thought of the visit in the next issue of Just Sheringham.

Pictures by Chris Taylor Photo.

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