‘Embrace Equity’ was the theme of International Women’s Day on 8 March and we embraced it fully at Ascham. Both Senior School and Junior School students explored, celebrated and marked this significant day across the whole week.
Each year, a delegation of Year 11 Ascham students attends the official UN Women IWD Lunch at Darling Harbour, coming back to School buzzing with inspiration and drive. This year we also held our inaugural IWD event here at Ascham, where we gathered over 200 Senior students from Ascham, Cranbrook, Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, Kincoppal Rose Bay, Scots, Rose Bay Secondary College, Waverley College, St Vincent’s College, Trinity Grammar, Sydney Girls’ High and Sydney Grammar, to discuss what embracing equity means now and into the future.
IWD’s drive behind the choice of the word ‘equity’ rather than ‘equality’ this year reflects the campaign’s focus on encouraging conversations around Why equal opportunities aren’t enough and Why equal isn’t always fair. ‘Equality’ implies that all people or groups are given the same opportunities. Whereas ‘equity’ recognises the differences in each individual’s starting point or circumstances, and requires the allocation of resources or opportunities to reach an equal outcome. It seems to be a subtle difference but is actually an important distinction, as the IWD’s website explains further here.
At our Ascham event, we welcomed special guest speaker, Ms Hannah Beder. Hannah is a computer scientist and software engineer who is passionate about addressing the historical gender disparity in STEM by mentoring young women to be successful in the tech industry. Since 2015, Hannah has volunteered for the Girls Programming Network, an all-female group who run free programming workshops for high school girls. She also works with Code Like A Girl as a volunteer and workshop facilitator, as well as delivering workshops for Coder Academy. Hannah’s visibility in these industries helps enable other young women (who historically have been underrepresented in the technology industry) to exist safely, envision a bright future and succeed. We really look forward to building on this successful student-led IWD event at Ascham, and continuing the vital work of embracing equity.
In our Junior School, every Year group created their own truly meaningful celebration of girls and women. Conversations, artwork and research took place around gender equity and inspirational women, such as the suffragettes, with the girls really living the theme of embracing equity.
At Ascham, every day is a celebration of all the incredible girls and women in our communities and across the globe.
Image: Deputy Head of School Mrs Pascale Drever with Year 11 students at the Ascham IWD event