This week at school we have been recognising and celebrating International Women’s Day. It has been sobering to hear some of the statistics about continuing gender inequity in areas such as leadership and income. Whilst these inequities are certainly decreasing, it is important to understand that they will only come to parity with sustained effort and intervention. My advice to all our students is simply to expect equality of conditions as a right. In fact, that is one of the greatest benefits to girls only schooling. I strongly believe that our girls do not see gender as a barrier to achieving what they want to. In our current Year 12 cohort we have students aiming for a variety of male dominated careers such as Physics. They do this routinely and without a thought of barriers. The University of Queensland published a study in 2018 called ‘Hands up for gender equality’. This was a significant study of over 10 000 Year 7 to 11 students in Queensland. It concluded that self-confidence in single sex schools is gender neutral. https://www.agsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Gender-Equality-in-the-Workplace-WEB-Single.pdf
That is not to say that we shouldn’t accept and celebrate the differences between genders. I think that is sometimes where the argument of gender equality becomes distorted. We need to recognise that females and males are different but equal. In 2020 it is astounding to think that we still need to be talking about gender imbalances in positions of societal influence. Our students represent the next generation of leaders and I am heartened by their confidence and expectation.
Dr John Fry
Dean of Studies