At the forefront of St Hilda’s messaging to our girls is the importance of gender equality. We deliberately challenge gendered norms and purposefully build girls’ confidence, conviction and self-belief, making sure that our girls have the skills and knowledge to speak out and to break down existing barriers.
The world needs women to lead boldly. It’s never too early to start these conversations with our girls.
I had the opportunity this week to welcome to our Chidley campus our Year 6 parents as we inducted our 2021 Junior School leaders. The girls shared their insights into the qualities of great leadership and reminded us that leadership is not determined by age, gender or nationality but by behaviours and actions. Together we explored leadership being a choice, their choice.
One of my greatest privileges that comes with leading St Hilda’s is the opportunity to nurture, inspire and grow the future female leaders of tomorrow. I do this in partnership with incredible role models that our girls see in action daily – inspiring teachers, coaches, tutors, mothers, and grandmothers.
During our assembly we explored what motivates leaders. I shared with the girls the following powerful quote:
“Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader.
They set out to make a difference.
It’s never about the role.
It’s always about the goal.” Lisa Haisha
Among many of the images shared of women who have made, and are still making, a positive difference in our world, was of the remarkable women leading Finland in the roles of Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Finance and Minister of Education. It was a powerful visual and prompted a genuine ‘wow and gasp’ from the young impressionable girls sitting in front of me.
I referenced the inspirational words of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, a highly regarded American lawyer and gender equality activist who sadly passed away last year. She put it quite simply, “Women belong in all places where decisions are made.”
Research into leadership in girls’ schools recently reported by the Alliance of Girls Schools Australia shared that 93% of girls’ school graduates say they were offered greater leadership opportunities than peers at coed schools and 80% have held leadership positions since graduating from high school. Research also concluded that in all girls’ schools, girls demonstrate great confidence in female leadership and become increasingly interested in leadership positions themselves.
Every leadership position in a girl’s school is held by a girl.
There were many takeaways from the messages and stories shared. Inspiring leadership comes not just from decision making and strategy. It comes from risk-taking and going against the grain, often when you’re driven by a higher cause, a deep care for others or a complete conviction that you’re acting for the greater good.
Some of the most captivating leadership stories are rooted in compassion and often in the face of adversity.