From the Principal • Mark Geraets
We had a wonderful celebration of International Women’s Day at the School on Tuesday with four time Winter Olympian and Scots alumna Britt Cox returning to the school to share her journey.
She was an inspirational speaker and addressed our school community with warmth and passion. She shared her “three circles” method of managing everything in her life:
- What we have no control over
- What we can control, and
- What we can influence
But her take-home message to our community of girls, but also to our boys, was to be prepared to step outside your comfort zone; shun the pressure to conform if you are confident on the path you are walking.
She recounted an incident that occurred when she was at Scots training for her first Winter Olympics in 2010, when she was 15 and in Year 10. She was doing her plyometrics training by hopping and jumping up the grassy slope near the boarding house while a group of cricketers were training in the nets. The cricketers laughed at her rather unusual method of training and she recalls being totally mortified and embarrassed. She wanted to crawl into a hole out of their sight.
But she didn’t.
When asked later how she looked back on that incident, she was forthright and said: “I’m an Olympian and where are they now?”
But it illustrated her message that you need to have the fortitude to stand out from the crowd to achieve your dreams and goals.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme, Break the Bias, is a reminder that we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
It’s a global day of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
We are moving to a very exciting time in history where the world now "expects" diversity, equity and inclusion. The world notices its absence and celebrates its presence.
Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead and action is needed to level the playing field, without losing sight of what is important for promoting and celebrating our boys and young men.
Scots is conscious of the role it plays in taking this sort of action. We have moved to ensure that everything at school available to boys is also available to girls.
We have implemented a STEM program for women that has increased participation in STEM subjects, we have supported and developed our girls to participate with great success in a women’s AFL program and we have made a serious commitment to involving more girls in our robotics programs.
We must be mindful that the pendulum does not swing too far one way, and we now have a core group of our leadership team looking at areas where we can promote growth - academically, emotionally and physically - for boys as well as girls.
The expectation is that a Scots education will meet the needs of girls and be responsive to the needs of boys - and be individualised enough that it won’t be just a one-size-fits-all solution to cater to both genders.