International Women's Day shines light on gender equity

International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8, and it's a day that shines a light on the ongoing efforts to achieve gender equality around the world.

At CCGS, we marked the occasion with guest speakers and a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the Birthing Kit Foundation.

CCGS alumni (2004) Sophie Bonnette and Senior Writer, Practical Law Australia at Thomson Reuters spoke to Senior College students, staff and parents at a special breakfast event. She shared stories and experiences of working towards gender equity in the workplace and gave practical approaches to help achieve equity or support someone else.

Sophie Bonnette CCGS alumni shares a world of equality

Close the gap

Australia's full-time gender pay gap remains at 22.8%. “While, in some industries, salary rates are common knowledge, until recently, it was normal for employment contracts to contain clauses prohibiting employees from discussing their salary. As a result, women and other minorities could be paid less!” explained Sophie.

Studies have shown that being able to talk about your salary can improve pay equity for everyone. The law now protects you so you cannot be prevented from talking about your salary if you want to do so.

Think carefully about the language being used

Language reflects and reinforces social norms. Thinking about your language is an easy but important step towards calling out stereotypes and biases and supporting inclusivity.

Sophie said, “Early in my career being told in a meeting with clients to "listen missy". A statement like that might seem innocuous but it completely undermined my status, expertise, and contribution to that meeting.”

Embrace flexibility

“By embracing flexibility, we show we value different ways of doing things and reinforce that there's more than "one right way" to do things. “
Sophie shared examples of having flexible work arrangements to support a stronger work and home-life balance.

Support and champion others

“For me, supporting and championing others at work is about recognising and valuing the contributions people can make without being influenced by preconceived notions. You support and champion others by stopping that urge to gravitate towards someone 'like you' but instead listening to, and engaging with, other people's perspectives.”

Sophie encouraged students to step outside their comfort zone, meet new people, join a club or team they’ve never tried before and call out things or actions that are insensitive or inappropriate. “The more we do this, the more likely things will change for the better.” 

CCGS students talk openly about equitable change for International Women's Day

Year 12 students Stella Hannagan and Joan Han-Park also spoke intelligently and passionately about their own experiences and what equality and equity means to them. They had one clear and important message, “Positive change inspires positive change, and that is why this initiative is so important, and why it means so much to talk to you all today - let’s keep that ball rolling, and keep inspiring equitable change.”

Local action, global impact

Year 10 community service project students ran an International Women’s Day pancake stall for students in senior school to raise funds for Birthing Kit Foundation in support of Zonta International.

The Birthing Kit Foundation is a charity that provides clean birthing kits to women in developing countries who would otherwise not have access to safe and sterile birthing facilities. By providing these kits, the foundation helps to prevent infection and complications during childbirth, which can be life-threatening for both mother and child. Over $700 was raised which is enough to provide 153 birthing kits.

Students at CCGS raise funds for Birthing Kit Foundation

It was heartening to see the level of support and engagement from our school community. By coming together to celebrate International Women's Day and support a worthy cause, we were able to shine a light on the ongoing efforts to achieve gender equity around the world and empower all genders to embrace equality.