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Happy International Women’s Day! And as our students have shown, we are ‘More Powerful Together’.
In our Principal’s Assembly on Tuesday, students spoke passionately about why this day is so important to them, and what we, as a community can do to support it.
Grace (Year 11) and Sheridan (Year 12) began by reminding everyone why we celebrate International Women’s Day.
“We support International Women’s Day to highlight the power of women and the ongoing fight for gender equity. It’s a day to reflect on how far we, as women, have progressed and how far we still have to go in order to truly achieve gender parity. Australia’s theme this year is ‘More Powerful Together’. This recognises the important role we all play, working together to break down stereotypes and gendered roles to create a world where men and women have equal rights and opportunities. We celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. On this day we recognise pioneering women for their achievements, but we also encourage women around the world to begin asserting their voices in the world. It brings gender issues to the forefront of people's minds, and encourages us all to be aware and reflect upon how we can make a difference in our own way. It brings to light issues such as domestic violence, which is still so prevalent in our society. Statistically, a third of us in this room are likely to experience some form of domestic abuse when we grow up, which is absolutely shocking. International Women's day is not just about you as an individual, but also your friends and family, men and women. So let's all be ‘More Powerful Together’ to raise awareness for International Women’s Day and everything it stands for.”
Amelie (Year 9) spoke about this year’s theme of International Women’s Day in Australia.
“Whether it be in a superhero film or a school project, the truth is, people are proven time and time again to be ‘More Powerful Together’. This includes men and women of all beliefs, ideas and perspectives joining forces and sharing ideas to make the change that they want, for the world they want. The 2019 International Women’s Day theme is about realising the role we all play, big and small, to shape the world around us, regardless of where we came from or who we are. Having a gender equal society is proven to reduce stigmas and stereotypes that limit us all, like gendered jobs, parenting roles and even emotions that limit the way society allows us to express our feelings. We can all benefit from a society that is not defined, or limited, by gender!”
Imogen (Year 8) spoke about the important role played by the association, Male Champions of Change, in driving change and raising awareness.
“In Australia, governments and companies, most positions of power are held by men, despite women making up over 50% of the population and despite women having been in the workforce for many decades. There are many highly qualified women eligible to lend their insights and leadership skills that are not even given a chance. Women currently represent less than 30% of all board positions on our listed companies, which defies logic and means those company boards are missing out and do not represent the diversity of our society. In her role as Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick founded “Male Champions of Change” in 2010 on the premise that given this gender power imbalance, a collaboration between men and women was required to address this structural inequality. This group of powerful men help women to stand against gender inequality.”
Greta (Year 11) outlined what ‘More Powerful Together’ means for Wenona.
“As Wenona girls, I’m sure we’ve all heard the words, “You’re in a privileged position, use your voice to make a change.” This is an exciting idea, but how do we actually translate that and be ‘More Powerful Together’ in our daily lives? Well, it all starts with support – as the campaign theme suggests. It is important that we support other women in our lives. Supporting each other is as easy as going to see your friend’s dance recital, or helping them write their resume, showing solidarity by raising money and campaigning for young women around the world who still need access to fresh water or basic sanitary items so they can focus on gaining a better education. We can spread the word about gender inequality and raise awareness of ways to move towards a more equal future. Attend clubs such as gender equity, in order to equip yourself with the knowledge to enter the discussion about gender parity with confidence. These are all examples of very accessible ways to increase your involvement in change. The overall message of International Women’s Day, at least to me, is that women need to be heard, and that through supporting each other, we can make a worthwhile change that benefits everyone, no matter how small. So, start that conversation! Post that article! Apply for that internship! Your insight is worth being heard, so keep contributing to the discussion!”
Finally, Claudia (Year 11) spoke about the incredible work done by the Cova Project and how it encapsulates this year’s theme.
“The Cova Project is a team of people - mostly young women - who work to support girls and women of reproductive age across the world who have little or no access to sanitary products. Cova does this by providing menstrual cups to African women. This means they no longer have to miss up to 50 days of school attendance due to menstruation, which creates a huge educational gap between girls and boys. Cova aims to create and distribute educational materials with sanitary products, to entire populations around African countries. What sets this charity apart is the achievable nature of this goal and how the companies and women behind the Cova Project are so passionate about what they do. Recently, sisters and co-founders Genna Anderson and Caillie Dunne (PY2014) kicked off Phase 1 of the project, and began distributing cups across South Africa. It has turned out to be a great success. They are continuing to issue these kits out to women and girls all over these disadvantaged areas, village by village. Working together with the help of other resources and support, they are providing better conditions for disadvantaged women and improving their educational and work opportunities. In the words of Genna Anderson: ‘Feminism isn't about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength.’”
This morning, 20 students attended an International Women’s Day breakfast at Darling Harbour. At lunchtime, students busked in the Amphitheatre to raise money for the Cova Project.
A huge thank you to Ms Seale, Director of Community and Service Learning (K to 12), for all her organisation and support.