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 inequality 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 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. We have students aiming for a variety of male dominated careers and they do this routinely and without a thought of barriers.
It was pleasing to see 24 girls from the secondary school engaging with tradeswomen this week through the Supporting And Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) program. A major point that came out of the feedback was that students felt empowered by working with tradeswomen. 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 girls and boys, men and women, are different but equal. In 2022 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 expectations.
Dr John Fry
Deputy Principal - Studies