In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we hosted a breakfast for our Senior students in Years 10 – 12 with their families.
We were privileged to have a panel of guest speakers Ellie Beni (Head of Year 7 at Mentone Girls’ Grammar), Helen Healey (past student at Mentone Girls’ Grammar), Libiana Montalvao (Relationship Manager at World Vision) and Kim Nguyen (Founder at People of Purpose) to enlighten our girls with their inspirational true stories.
Each speaker talked about their backstory—where they came from, their cultural identity, the rules and regulations within their own culture and the discrimination they faced during their upbringing and beyond. Our speakers had strong connections to Timor, Iran, Ethiopia and Vietnam where they discovered the hardships of growing up in an Eastern culture and the oppression that came with being a woman.
All four echoed the same mentality and emotional strength. What can we learn from these females who demonstrate the true meaning of empowered women?
Know your human rights
The common key message from each speech was the importance of knowing our rights. In Australia, we tend to take our rights for granted. According to speaker Kim Nguyen, being born in Australia for her was like winning the “birth lottery”. It is a right for a woman to feel supported and encouraged to express herself free from discrimination. Particularly at an all-girls’ school like ours, every girl can feel nurtured by her peers and teachers and can lean on them in times of need.
“Find your voice, be loud! You don’t need to scream, but be loud.” – Ellie Beni.
It is so important, particularly for those women who are from diverse backgrounds to be true and authentic to ourselves. There is only one of YOU on this planet so we should embrace our uniqueness and celebrate each other’s differences.
“Use your voice for influence—you never know who you will empower or inspire to make a change.” – Libiana Montalvao.
Have courage to stand up for yourself
As we strive for gender parity, more women are becoming empowered to speak up for what they believe is right. It is vital that we take ourselves out of our comfort zone and ensure that we are being respected by those around us. We cannot wait for others to save us, we must first save ourselves from adversity and have the mental strength to fight for what is fair.
“We need to speak up and not be a bystander.” – Helen Healey.
This International Women’s Day, let’s be #eachforequal because an equal world is an enabled world.