Celebrated on March 8 every year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights and a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, St Michael’s supported this global day by holding a Women’s Day Breakfast, along with celebrating the achievements of women within our community.

St Michael's Grammar School

The concept of a sit-down breakfast came through our dedicated School Leaders; Luis Perkins (12H), Massimo Martelli (12H) and Bronte Smeaton (12K), supported by Mr Murray Phyland, Head of Community Service (K–12) and the Staff Association.

Mr Phyland recognised the collective action and shared ownership for promoting gender parity. “It was a proud moment to see the School Captains so inspired to bring awareness to IWD by organising this event,” said Mr Phyland. “Decorating the café with purple balloons, printing signs and advertising across the School was a real statement that IWD is an important day in celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.”

Attendees enjoyed a free breakfast at Dolly’s Café while engaged with inspirational guest speaker, Ms Dale Fisher, St Michael’s parent and Board Member, who spoke about the significance of gender parity and the value it has in our environments.

St Michael's Grammar School

“Equality is a basic human right. When I call myself a feminist leader, I’ve found a lot of my colleagues don’t call themselves feminists. A feminist is – do you believe in the equal rights to women to men? I believe everyone in this room is a feminist.

Why gender parity is so important is because it actually has value to decision making and thinking to the strategy. People say the digital revolution is happening – it is over. We’re in an era of adaptation, and we need to adapt to the environment as it is a short-term world. Having equity in the boardroom, creating and executing strategies, and making decisions, it’s really important to have that balance.

I’ve checked the St Michael’s Board and it has 50% men and 50% women, and in fact, the Executive has over 50% women, which is really important at a senior level.” — Ms Dale Fisher

St Michael's Grammar School

This past year has seen a chorus of voices speaking out against inappropriate behaviours by powerful individuals, and the #metoo movement has played an important role in exposing some of the behaviours that have been tolerated for too long. Mrs Terrie Jones, Head of the School, believes we have an opportunity to navigate these spaces and go beyond coexistence to flourishing together.

“Fortunately for our young people, St Michael’s is a school where we take seriously the fact that we are proximate to the formation of attitudes and behaviours,” said Mrs Jones. “Let us act intentionally to help our students appreciate the differences between the genders and celebrate that which each brings to this wonderful community.”

In the spirit of celebrating the achievements of women, we spoke to a handful of individuals across the School, to recognise their achievements; big or small.

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“I was really happy to secure a spot with a TV agency, and star in an advertisement for a hospital promoting care for cancer. I’m really proud because it was really hard to get in.” — Ruby (4K)

St Michael's Grammar School

“I am most proud of my children and being a mum.” — Pia Jarnestrom, St Michael’s past parent and Physical Education Teacher

St Michael's Grammar School

“Working in recruitment and giving women of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to accept a role that challenges and allows them to grow is something very special. The gratitude often expressed is an achievement in itself.” — Anna Borovska, People and Strategy Officer

St Michael's Grammar School

“Being School Captain would be one of my most incredible achievements because as a woman in leadership, it’s such a great honour to assert my influence at St Michael’s, particularly with Mrs Jones as our new female Head of the School.” — Bronte Smeaton (12K), School Captain 2018

St Michael's Grammar School

“Equality is a basic human right. When I call myself a feminist leader, I’ve found a lot of my colleagues don’t call themselves feminists. A feminist is – do you believe in the equal rights to women to men? I believe everyone in this room is a feminist. Why gender parity is so important is because it actually has value to decision making and thinking to the strategy.” — Dale Fisher, St Michael’s parent and Board Member

St Michael's Grammar School

“We were surprised by the results of our VCE 3/4 subjects last year, but I guess we put in the hard work and ended up with a study score that we were really happy with.” — Lucy (12K) and Olivia (12B)

St Michael's Grammar School

“I started my own small business with a friend a couple of years ago. Being so young it took some courage and drive to do, but I’m proud of myself for taking the risk as I was able to learn so much along the way.” — Sarah Henson, Engagement and Marketing Team Assistant