St Columba’s Day
What a joy it was to celebrate St Columba’s day this year, especially after the fruitless planning of the last two years. A fun day was had by all. There was a strong focus on our House Partners throughout the day, ensuring that in our abundance, we remain in solidarity with those who are the most vulnerable in our society.
Our “Walk for the Margins” raised $4710.00. It was a really enjoyable morning as a united College community, we made a very small sacrifice to show our appreciation for the funds raised. Thank you to all of the families who made a contribution. The Sisters of Charity Foundation, to which all of the money will be donated, does amazing and vital work with those who are marginalised. Just recently I received the following email seeking support.
Almost every week in this country, a woman is killed by a current or former partner.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation helps fund small charities across Australia that protect women and children escaping family violence. We provided $20,000 to Hearts of Purple to purchase duress alarm watches for survivors at high risk of being killed – women like Lauren, a mum of two who was attacked by her abusive partner as she was trying to leave the family home.
As a school with a determined focus on the empowerment of women, this is certainly a cause worth supporting.
Girls’ Schools and Leadership Role Models
In a recent study shared with us by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (ASGA), it was revealed that,
In the treatment of female politicians —like Julia Gillard — girls saw evidence of gender discrimination, rather than gender equality. They saw women targeted, and men tolerated; women scrutinised, and men left alone. The sustained discrimination and misogyny they witnessed had taught them that yes, they can certainly rise, but there are inherent risks associated with living a woman’s life in the public eye that may well mean their downfall.
So, what can educators of girls do to counter this implicit pedagogy? How to encourage girls to feel the fear and do it anyway? Girls are smart. They can see the risks involved for any women who try to ‘take up too much space’ and so the only course of action for educators is to develop in girls the confidence and motivation to lead — the courage and grit to be change-makers in a gender-biased world. For girls’ schools, it would seem the answer is simply to ‘stay the course’.
And the evidence is in an interesting statistic from the recent federal election in Australia.
We saw the election (and in one case, re-election) of eight formidable female ‘teal’ independent MPs. These eight women saw that change was needed and they made it happen. Interestingly, but in no way surprising, five out of the eight are graduates of girls’ schools.
To put this figure into perspective: while girls’ schools make up just 2% of schools in Australia, they make up 63% of these successful teal independents. Why is this the case?
Girls’ schools are at the forefront of gender equality, deliberately challenging gendered norms and purposefully building girls’ confidence — determined to furnish students with both the conviction and self-belief to see the risks of public life for women, feel the fear, and do it anyway. That’s why 63% of the strong female independents are graduates from a sector that represents only 2% of all Australian schools. It’s just the girls’ school edge.
(eBrief, Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, from Paule, M., & Yelin, H. (2022). “I don’t want to be known for it”: Girls, leadership role models and the problem of representation’. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 25(1), 238-255. https://doi.org/10.1177/13675494211004595.)
Recently, this was highlighted in an article entitled “Why girls’ schools succeed at producing women who lead” written by Loren Bridge, Executive Officer, ASGA, published in the Age. You can read the article in full by following this link.
Gift from the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries
Just this week we were curious to open an intriguing parcel sent to us from Mary Aikenhead Ministries. We were delighted to find within the very tight packaging a print of the beautiful tapestry that adorns the foyer of St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst. The tapestry tells the story of the Sisters of Charity in Australia from 1838. It was designed and hand woven by Margaret Grafton on the occasion of the Sisters’ 150th anniversary in Australia in 1988. We are very pleased to have this connection with St Vincent’s, through the Sisters and the print, which now hangs proudly in College Reception. We are grateful to the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries for their generous and thoughtful gift on the significant occasion of our 125th Anniversary.
A Restful Term Break
We wish all our students and teachers a relaxing term break over the next two weeks. May it be a time of rest and rejuvenation, and we look forward to a wonderful Term 3.