In the Junior School we recognise and mark International Women’s Day in a wide variety of ways and this year is no different. While Sunday, 8 March was the official International Women’s Day, our school discussions and events spanned the week prior to this special day and our programs and practises, that relate to the 2020 complimentary themes - #EachForEqual and Generation Equality, will run for the whole school year.
As educators of girls and boys from the Early Learning Centre (ELC) to Year 3, and girls only from Year 4 to Year 6, we are conscious of the need to ensure that messages around equality are age-appropriate and accessible to all children, regardless of gender. Young children have a strong sense of justice and fairness and through everyday activities in the ELC and Junior Primary they have a multitude of authentic opportunities to explore and discuss what fair and equal mean, with the help and guidance of their teachers.
As our students mature, their ability to research, debate and take action around issues of gender equality grow and develop. In the upper primary years, girls and boys begin to understand that gender equality is as much an economic and social concern as it is a women’s issue – as gender equality is essential for communities and economies to flourish.
On the official International Women’s Day website we see a call to action with a challenge for us all to do our part to help ensure ‘… a gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, [and] more gender equality in health and wealth.’
In Australia, we are fortunate that women and men have relatively equal opportunities, but we cannot rest on our laurels as much work still needs to be done to ensure a completely equal playing field in all areas of life for our children, and for children across the world.
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign aligns with much we do at CGGS in ensuring our students, and especially our girls, have ample opportunities to thrive. The campaign outlines six key areas:
- Championing women forging tech innovation
- Applauding equality for women athletes
- Forging inclusive workplaces so women thrive
- Supporting women to earn on their own terms
- Empowering women through health education
- Increasing visibility for female creatives
I know our whole school community is united in the desire to see every child reach her or his full potential and that parents and grandparents will be particularly disturbed by the prediction that, at the current rate of change, the global gender pay gap will not be closed in our, or our children’s lifetime, as it sits at 99.5 years.
So how can we support our children to take action to make the world a fairer and kinder place for all? I have modified some suggestions made by the activist group, Sisters Uncut, as a starting point:
- Help your child identify what s/he is most passionate about e.g. gender pay gap, refugee women, women in politics, access to education etc. Concentrating on one thing will help them to decide where to expend their energy
- Help your child to understand, in an age appropriate way, issues of equality and social justice and have regular conversations about what they know and do
- Assist your child to plan a fundraising event or to work with the School to be entrepreneurial and fundraise at events like the School Fete
- Think carefully about where you spend your money and discuss your decisions openly with your child
- Challenge offensive media coverage, marketing and advertising campaigns and point these out to your child with your reasons for finding them offensive
- Support women who enter politics. The more women in politics the more likely we are to see policies that benefit women
- Allow your child to volunteer
- Encourage your child to write an article, blog, set up a website or create a petition
I thank you for your continued support of all our programs and practises and remind you that we are currently collecting toiletries, for women and girls in need across the region, until the end of Term 1. Early in Term 2, the toiletries will sorted into bags by our Year 6 students and passed on to Anglicare for distribution.
Ms Angela Whitaker
Head of Junior School
Photo above: Ms Angela Whitaker pictured with some of our Junior School students.