On 12 May at Ascham The Student Alliance for Gender Equality (SAGE) held its first conference with a student led panel discussion around gender equality.
Here Year 11 Student, Olivia Cook describes her involvement in this inaugural event and why keeping the discussion alive around gender equality, respectful relationships and casual sexism is so important today.
‘Conversation is arguably the most vital skill a young person can possess. If we learn to articulate the profound experiences of adolescence, and in turn listen intently, there is boundless opportunity for unfeigned progress.
Last Thursday, I had the privilege of mediating an event that had been in the works for over a year. SAGE, or the Student Alliance of Gender Equality, was born from a need to maintain the important discussions opened by the likes of Chanel Contos and Brittany Higgins – whose petitions and political dialogue rocked our worlds in early 2021. To then be able to form a safe space, where students can productively strategise towards actively bettering our communities, is invaluable.
The evening consisted of a panel discussion between Chanel Contos, Angelique Wan (Founder of Consent Labs), Jack Story (Grammar Prefect), John Coleman (Cranbrook Prefect), Anjali Lambotharan (Abbotsleigh Prefect), Chloe Hoang (PLC Prefect), Margot Harris, and myself. We asked a series of prepared questions surrounding Australian Consent Education laws, the impacts of pornography on young minds, bystanding, and the deep-rooted cultures of sexism within same-sex institutions, before moving onto audience-led discussion – both were met with much appreciated passion and enthusiasm.
I couldn’t have organised the event without the indispensable assistance of Mrs Drever, Margot Harris, Shoshana Auerbach, Mrs Turner, Ms Scott, and the SAGE Committee. It was sincerely moving to see something develop from a simple concept to burgeoning fruition.
I implore you to continue such important discussions at home, and with your peers – watch this space!’