From the Principal
International Women’s Day
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to also do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style. ~ Maya Angelou
An amazing collage of inspirational women is currently displayed in our Senior School library featuring women from the Rebel Girls book series. A quote is attributed to each woman, and a personal favorite is the American poet, writer and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Her quote truly sums up my passion for enabling girls and young women to thrive and contribute to creating a better world for all.
The collage is part of our celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. Acknowledged on 8 March each year, it is a celebration of women’s achievements throughout history and across nations.
This year’s theme #PressforProgress is inspired by the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017 Global Gender Gap Report that benchmarked 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across the areas of health, economics, politics and education. One of the key areas of concern is the growing gender pay gap that has not shown much improvement over the last ten years.
The gender pay gap is a complex issue and the WEF predicts that the current gap won’t close for a projected 217 years. It is characterized by issues like only 22% of women hold managerial positions, that women are more likely to work in industries with a lower average pay and they are also more likely to take breaks in work or undertake part-time work when caring for children or elderly parents.
In trying to address the issue over two-thirds of OECD countries have introduced new policies and reporting requirements directed at pay equity in the last five years. However, there is still a long way to go if we are to fully utilize and reward the intelligence and capabilities of 50% of the world’s population, hence the need to #PressforProgress where we are all urged to think, act and be gender inclusive.
At Camberwell Girls we introduced International Women’s Day at a recent Senior School Assembly and a number of our students are attending an IWD Breakfast at Parliament House next week where the keynote speaker is Sally Capp, the first woman to hold the post of the Victorian Government’s Agent-General in London. She was also the first female director of the Collingwood Football Club. In our Mentoring program, students will have the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on women who inspire them.
We value supporting organisations that assist girls and young women to be educated. On IWD we are proudly hosting our second Days for Girls Service Learning activity where students and staff will be making kits to meet the hygiene needs for girls in countries where they don’t have access to hygiene products during menstruation. These kits enable girls to attend school each month, hence not impacting their access to education and we will be taking the kits that we make to Cambodia this year. We are very proud to be making these kits in conjunction with Dream Stitches again this year.
Days for Girls Kits
I was delighted to learn this week that Old Grammarian Sarah Boyd (Class of 1998), founder of The Gender Agency, has just been awarded the Fullbright Postgraduate Scholarship for Victoria. Sarah is a specialist in human rights, gender equality and women’s rights in International Development, peacebuilding and humanitarian affairs and is passionate about the potential of feminist foreign policies to advance women’s rights and their representation in foreign policy and national security decision-making. As part of her Scholarship Sarah intends to create an Institute for Feminist Foreign Affairs to increase women’s leadership in foreign policy, international development and national security decision-making in the Asia Pacific. Our sincere congratulations are extended to Sarah as a recipient of this Scholarship.
As I highlighted in an earlier edition of CamNews, we were so proud of the achievements of our 2017 Year 12 students. They have accepted places into a wide range of courses and we are highlighting a number of stores on our website. I have selected a few to share with you this week.
On International Women’s Day this year as we celebrate women’s achievements and support young women in their health and education needs, my hope is that we continue to move closer to a place where we see women thrive and support each other on their journeys with ‘some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style’.