Monday, March 8th was International Women’s Day, a day to recognise the strong women who have brought us to where we are today and to take the time to acknowledge the strength that lies within the next generation of women. In 2021, the IWD theme is #Choose to Challenge which encourages all of us to call out gender bias and inequality and to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. It is also a day to recognise and thank the men and women in our lives who are our supports and champions.
On Monday, Kara Krehlik and I took six of our students to the Zonta Club’s International Women’s Day Breakfast, an annual event that provides an opportunity to listen to inspirational women, including this year’s key speaker, Sacha Kirk, the cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer of Lawcadia, an Australian headquartered legal technology company. During her speech, she shared her experiences from over 15 years in marketing, brand strategy development and professional consulting in Australia and the UK.
The breakfast also allowed our current students to engage with Old Girls, strong women who are great role models, supporters and advocates for Girls Grammar. Our girls enjoyed chatting with a number of past Girls Grammar students, including the Honourable Michelle Landry MP, Member for Capricornia. The girls always enjoy hearing Old Girls share their memories of their school days.
Attending the breakfast also allows us to hear about Zonta’s commitment to empowering women worldwide to achieve their aspirations. The Club works with government and community leaders to advocate for women’s issues locally and internationally and it also encourages and helps students to develop leadership skills, explore career options and participate in community projects.
On Wednesday, we celebrated IWD at school by asking our girls to dress up as women who inspire them. We had historical figures, scientists, mathematicians, athletes, movie stars, activists and artists but we also had people dress up as their everyday heroes, the women in their lives who, through their strength and resilience, inspire us and allow us to flourish: our mothers, grandmothers, family members, and friends. As testament to the relationships our girls build with staff, this year we also had a significant number of girls dress up as some of their teachers.
As a girls’ school, the message that women are strong, confident and capable is also regularly reinforced through both activities and curriculum. Last week, I joined the Year 2s as they completed a study of women who have challenged gender stereotypes. Whilst they were developing the Australian Curriculum skills by selecting, synthesising and communicating information, the content focused on aspirational women including Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; Valentina Tereshkova, the first and youngest woman to have flown in space and Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for defending the rights of girls to be educated.
I thank our parents for choosing an all girls’ school, for giving their daughters the gift of learning from and with other young women. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the men and women in our girls’ lives, and in our community, who support Girls Grammar girls to be the exceptional young women they are and to know that gender is not, nor should it ever be, a barrier to anything.