Every year on 8 March, we celebrate International Women’s Day. For a school that maintains an even gender balance in both the student cohort and in positions of leadership, this is an important day for us to collectively show our support for and understanding of gender equity.
As part of this year’s conversation about gender equity, the Middle School hosted an International Women’s Day themed assembly. Students heard stories of inspirational women from around the world and in our own community, including the Carey Class of 2020’s own Mia Kendall, who was last year drafted into Melbourne Football Club in the AFLW.
‘When I was in primary school, I played footy with the boys before school, at recess, at lunch and after school,’ Mia shared in her speech to the Middle School students. ‘I was the only girl until I finally dragged a couple of my mates along in Year 6. Most of the boys were somewhat accepting, they’d keep their thoughts to themselves and just let me play, while others would ridicule me and treat me as an outsider for not conforming to the stereotypes of what girls were meant to do.’
Mia went onto explain that even though her experience so far in the AFLW has been overwhelmingly positive, she has still seen the same sort of discrimination playing out for her teammates, even as professional footballers.
‘I now look to the comments that I see on my fellow teammates’ social media, and the language and sexism is horrific. And the same boys that were telling me I couldn't or shouldn't be playing footy with them are the same men that are hating on women’s success in sport and in all areas of life,’ Mia said.
In order to change this culture, Mia challenged the boys in the audience to invite girls to participate when they notice anyone watching them kicking the footy around on the oval, or even to jam with their bands or be in their group projects. She then challenged the girls to have the courage to say yes.
‘What you're doing is showing these girls that you respect them as equal citizens to you rather than treating them as inferior, even if it's subconsciously,’ Mia explained. ‘I have faith that you are old enough and mature enough to understand the issues that we face, if you're willing to listen and learn.’
Towards the end of the assembly, four women in leadership at Carey formed a panel to talk about the challenges they have faced, the women who have inspired them, and how we can all be more active in promoting gender equity at Carey. The panel members – Deputy Principal, Kate Croft; our two Deputy Heads of Middle School, Meredith Plaisted and Georgie Jones; and Middle School teacher and Gender Equity Group representative Kaitlin Young (pictured with Mia Kendall) – all contributed insights into their lives to help to explain why promoting gender equity and celebrating International Women’s Day is so important.
Tomorrow morning, before school, Carey is hosting our annual International Women’s Day event in the IWA. Starting at 7.15am, we will hear from guest speaker, Director of Strategy and Innovation at the consulting firm kin8 and Old Carey Grammarian, Frances Goh (2006).
We are delighted to offer Carey students (Years 5 to 12), staff and parents the chance to hear from Frances and show your support for gender equity. Places are limited, so please register your attendance through the TryBooking.
Please note that breakfast will not be served at the event this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please wear a mask if you are unable to socially distance.