How different would girls’ lives be if we were intrigued by their minds?
This week I read a research summary which highlighted some alarming outcomes, given that we are well into the 21st Century. In essence the findings of the various studies included:
- The failure of the current employment model to support women’s advancement and access to senior roles.
- Women in paid work continue to take on most of the domestic and caring responsibilities at home, and this is reflected in the gender division of household chores allocated to daughters and sons.
- These chores follow traditional gender expectations, with boys getting allowances greater than girls for the chores they are performing, reinforcing the stereotype that the work girls perform is worth less than the work boys perform.
- Even young children believe that only men can be ‘brilliant’, and that ‘perceptions of intelligence are inversely related to a woman’s ‘sexiness’. A woman who is perceived to be very attractive to men is automatically assumed to be incapable of being intellectually brilliant’.
- A review of internet searches revealed that parents are 2.5 more times likely to ask if their son is gifted than if their daughter is gifted, twice as likely to ask ‘is my daughter overweight’ over ‘is my son overweight’, and 1.5 times more likely to ask whether their daughter is ‘beautiful’ and three times more likely to ask if she is ‘ugly’.
- This is in contrast to actual data, from the US, that shows that boys are more likely to be overweight, and less likely than girls to be in gifted programmes.
- These biases were found consistently across all demographic, cultural and political backgrounds.
As I said, alarming. What lessons do we take from research studies such as these? It is so easy to fall into traditional patterns of behaviour that are continually reinforced by the media, and which are now an entrenched part of our daily lives through social media. Let us be ever conscious of the language we use, and the actions we take, because they contain the unconscious and subtle messages that communicate where a person’s unique value lies. When we are speaking to our girls, let us recognise and praise their minds and hearts, their capacity for thinking and compassion, their generosity and leadership, the capacity to be a great friend, their courage, and their inherent goodness and worth as human beings. Let’s drop the words pretty, beautiful and gorgeous, unless we are describing another facet of what makes them unique, other than their looks. It is up to us to act consciously and with intent if we are to break these insidious contributors to gender inequality, and if we want to achieve the full participation and flourishing of our girls in society, in the workforce, and in their own lives.
(Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, eBrief)
Parents’ Association News
Unfortunately, the Father/Male Mentor/Daughter Activity Night is unable to proceed due to current restrictions. I would like to acknowledge the work of the Parents’ Association, who continue to meet in the online world, and search for ways to make a creative response to the times we are in.
2021 College Co-Captains
After an extensive process of applications, interviews and voting, this week we appointed our 2021 College Co-Captains. Four final candidates entered the final stage of the election process, and demonstrated a tremendous amount of courage as they put themselves forward to be scrutinized by the College community. It was a very close vote, which showed that the community saw a drive and passion for the College, in each candidate. Thank-you to the candidates for their flexibility and adaptability, in what was a new way to conduct our student elections, and for being a part of this process.
It is with great pleasure, that I introduce our College Co-Captains for 2021:
Alysha Lowrie and Grace Saporito