I often write about the benefits of girls only schooling. Usually, I frame such discussions around end results. These may be academic but not exclusively so. I have written on the socialisation, confidence and friendship benefits. Over the next few weeks, I would like to talk about how girls learn and what we do at Girls Grammar to tailor the education of your daughters. We are dedicated to advocating for the learning and developmental needs of your girls. This week I want to look at the importance of female role models.
We believe that girls need role models to help them aspire to reach their full potential. I note here that these role models can be male, but research has found positive female role models are essential for girls to grow into confident women. Girls must ‘see it to be it.’ Seeing women who shape our communities helps girls aspire to greatness.
Whilst women account for half of our population, they account for only a small part of historical figures. However, at Girls Grammar students see trailblazing women every day. Our girls see and learn about accomplished women and become more aware of the possibilities in their own lives.
Not only do girls need mentors, they particularly need female mentors who can model greater diversity in women’s lives today. Research shows that female students, more than males, rate the same-sex mentor’s lifestyle and values as highly important to their own professional development. Girls working with female mentors may provide an important antidote to some women’s socialisation to defer to men. Rather than a potential feeling being in a relationship of unequal power, in female mentor-female protégé relationships, students learn to mobilise their full energies, resources, and strengths. This is at the core of our STEM mentoring program run by Director of Middle Years, Christie Dey. When we combine positive role models and strong female mentors, no gender stereotyping in the classroom, and abundant learning opportunities, girls thrive.
We send that message to girls every day. Not only do our girls have a wealth of avenues for self-exploration and development, but they also have a wealth of female mentors and peer role models.
This week’s article is based on the following blog.
Dr John Fry
Deputy Principal - Studies