International Women’s Day – Stories from Our Schools
Below is a selection of some of the initiatives occurring across our schools:
St Joseph’s College, Geelong – Strategic Leadership
One of the SJC Strategic goals is to Support Gender Equity by ensuring our workplace demonstrates gender equality and respect through the annual collection and analysis of gender disaggregated data and the use this data to support decision making. Another focus underpinning this goal is to promote gender equity and challenge gender stereotypes through a review of policy, curriculum and professional learning.
Recently the College restructured their Position of Leaderships, and reviewed ways we could support gender equity by encouraging anyone interested in these positions to apply regardless of their need to work part time to support their growing families. Successful applicants in these positions where then given the opportunity to negotiate how their role could be supported on days they were absent, and distributing leadership time to other staff to assist in ensuring the day to day support for student learning and wellbeing was seamless. This has resulted in two senior leaders holding 0.8 FTE positions, with increased administrative support.
Nano Nagle Flexi Schools Network – Safe and Flexible spaces for all
The Nano Nagle Flexi Schools Network (FSN) is always working to raise equality and celebrate the work of women across Australia and the globe. Within the network we seek to create safe and flexible spaces for all, ensuring women are respected and valued for who they are and what they bring to our communities. Women are employed within all areas of school and network leadership, and all areas of school life.
Some key examples of safety and flexibility, specific to women, include our schools having:
-Programs and resources designed to allow participation and support for young mums/parents to continue their education journey
-Designated breast feeding spaces
-Flexible working arrangements considered for pregnant or staff seeking IVF treatment
-Introduction of focused term days celebrating: Young Women’s groups, Young Fellas and Pride or Diversity Groups
Inspired by Nano Nagle, we celebrate the work of women educators and learners on a daily basis, with much respect, reflection and consideration given to the work of Nano and the Presentation Sisters. We also look to the work of St Mary McKillop and honour both hers and the Nano feast days. Just as Edmund Rice was inspired and guided by the significant women in his life, we recognise the wisdom women bring to all of us within the Nano Nagle FSN.
This year’s IWD theme of ‘Break the Bias’ is being raised as a theme across our Network, including facing the unconscious bias we might have in areas such as gender, culture, disability and religion. We look forward to a space of non-discrimination, non-bias and dignity for all.
St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Women Aspiring to Leadership
In 2021, Director of Learning and Teaching at St. Joseph’s Nudgee College, Ms Natalie Webber led a program for ‘Women Aspiring to Leadership’. The program included a group of ten women from Ambrose Treacy College, St. Laurence’s College, St. Joseph’s Gregory Terrace, Brisbane Boys College and St. Joseph’s Nudgee College. This followed a trial program of the same name that ran internally at St. Joseph’s Nudgee College in 2020.
The ‘Women Aspiring to Leadership’ program aims to encourage women toward leadership and contribute to equipping them with the skills to become effective leaders in the 21st Century. Grounded in contemporary research, it provides an opportunity for aspiring leaders to not only enhance their leadership practice but also engage in networking. Made up of seven workshops, the program offers a rich, collaborative learning experience for women who aspire to educational leadership. At the conclusion of the program in 2021, five participants of the program had attained either acting or permanent positions of leadership. This was an exciting outcome for these women and their school communities.
Annabelle Kumar, a participant of the program in 2021 stated: “The program helped me to articulate and refine my own goals, to build a plan, to stay focused, and to stay accountable. I’ve just been offered a promotion, and I attribute that to the support I received from being a member of this group.”
Georgia Holden, another participant shared: “This program has been instrumental in extending myself and capabilities in educational leadership. Without this professional development opportunity, I would not have felt the confidence to begin my post-graduate study. The sessions are topical and promote a sense of collegiality with other women who are also aspiring to leadership.”
The ‘Women Aspiring to Leadership’ program will occur again in 2022 at St. Joseph’s Nudgee College. If you would like to know more about the program, please contact Natalie Webber at email@example.com
Trinity College, Perth – Celebrating International Women’s Day
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Trinity College’s 2022 International Women’s Day breakfast was sadly cancelled; however, the event will still be celebrated by having students reflect on what the day and theme means to them, and how they can work to forge a gender-equal world. This includes presenting accurate statistics to the students which reflects how women’s rights have progressed over the last 100 years while also acknowledging how far there is yet to go, encouraging students to start challenging conversations with friends and family about gender stereotypes, discrimination and bias, and donating to female-focused charities and organisations that support women.
In addition, we ask all our students to consider the women who have played influential roles in their lives and to acknowledge their tireless efforts in working towards a gender-equal world. This reflection takes place in the form of a postcard which is mailed to recipients – students write to a significant woman in their life which thanks and acknowledges them in the context of this important event. Most often, the recipient is the student’s mum, but there are many instances where students choose to write to their sisters, grandmas, aunties, or even their teachers! These postcards are particularly special as students dedicate a period of time throughout the school day towards writing the messages, ensuring they properly consider how the person they have chosen has helped them become a man for others. Once received, this also gives the student an opportunity to share in a special moment with their chosen recipient.