March 11, 2022

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As President of Women’s Sport Australia and CEO of Table Tennis Australia, Gen Dohrmann (Simmons) from the Class of 2006 spoke eloquently at our Senior School International Women’s Day (IWD) Assembly about this year’s IWD theme, #BreakTheBias from a sporting perspective.

Since graduating from CGGS, Gen has completed a Bachelor of Communications from RMIT and has held a number of roles at Gymnastics Victoria including Communications Manager, General Manager – Marketing and Communications and General Manager – Marketing and Industry. 

Women’s Sport Australia is a national advocacy body for women in sport. In her role as President, Gen supports a team of volunteers whose priorities include:

> Gender pay equity and a living wage for female athletes

> Equal access to sporting facilities and amenities for all women and girls, on and off the field

> Equal media time for women’s sports and female athletes

> Celebrating and championing female leaders and role models.

In her presentation to our students, Gen also emphasised the valuable role that male champions of change play in this area to make a difference.

IWD was first observed in 1908 in New York in response to garment workers’ strike in New York over terrible working conditions. The movement to advance women’s rights soon widened to demand the right to vote, to hold public office, to receive training at work and to end discrimination against women in general. In 1911 the first IWD was observed throughout Europe and by 1913, March 8 was set aside as the day for observances. Three colours were chosen to represent IWD:

> purple to represent dignity and respect

> green to represent hope and new life, and

> white to represent purity in public and private life.

At CGGS in addition to this assembly, we celebrated 2022 IWD through a variety of activities at lunchtime and through some senior students attending functions offsite. We also held our annual workshop with representatives from the international organisation Days for Girls in our MakerSpace. Throughout the course of the day hundreds of menstrual kits were compiled and sewn for young women in developing countries to enable them to attend school whilst menstruating. For the last five years this has been a key activity on IWD forming part of our Service Learning Program.

The theme of breaking biases is ultimately about building a world that is more equitable and inclusive by removing discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices against women. 

The 2020 Mission Australia Youth Survey of 25,800 young people aged 15-19 years revealed that students at girls’ schools obtained higher scores than the female average in key areas such as physical and mental health, overall life satisfaction and educational and career aspirations. Findings included that students at girls’ schools engaged more in sport (74%) compared with all females (69%), had less mental health concerns (37% compared to the female average of 43%) and were less concerned about bullying (9.6% compared to the female average of 15.1%).

At CGGS, all of our students have equal access to a wide range of curricular and co-curricular programs including, sport, STEM programs, technical activities and leadership roles. This is their norm.

The International Women’s Day website encourages us to:

Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

We want our students to be inspired by learning and opportunities that are meaningful and truly engage them and not be limited by stereotypes, prejudice or discrimination. Real choice and opportunity will build confidence in individuals and assist them to live lives that are purposeful and fulfilling now, and into the future.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody