Break The Bias: International Women’s Day

As leaders in girls’ education, International Women’s Day (IWD) is an important day to celebrate all women’s achievements, diversity, strength, and determination. 

Our College mission statement, “Educating young Mercy women who act with courage and compassion to enrich our world”, encourages our students to be courageous in standing up against discrimination and bias.

IWD raises awareness and encourages us to take action towards gender equality. As a girls’ school, we believe it is important to create space for our girls to shine, feel empowered, have a voice and know they are heard.

The 2022 theme for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. Breaking the bias means breaking down the stereotypes and removing discrimination based on gender. Deputy Head Girl Alicia Tory said, “We can all collectively break the bias by being responsible for our own actions, believing in ourselves and knowing we can chase any dream we set. If we challenge others clouded by stereotypes and stand up for what we believe in, we can #breakthebias.

This year’s theme invites us to:

Imagine a gender-equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Today, during Pastoral Care Time, students watched a recorded interview with Class of 2000 graduate and former Santa Maria teacher Lucy Biedermann (Chaffer). Lucy was a surf lifesaver turned skeleton racer who competed at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. 

Lucy’s experiences across a range of areas of life have taught her many lessons, and today she shared some of those lessons with our students. Lucy spoke to the girls in a pre-recorded interview from her home in Switzerland. 

As an elite athlete, Lucy has shown great courage and overcame many challenges. She told the girls, “Don’t be defined by just one thing or the labels people give you”, explaining that she’s an athlete, but she’s also a mum, a teacher, a friend, and a daughter. Lucy also talked about creating your own path, telling the girls, “You need to take responsibility for your own life and not to be afraid if you get things wrong or need to change direction.” It was an absolute pleasure to have Lucy speak to the girls.

After Lucy’s interview, the girls took part in an activity titled “What do you see when you look in the mirror?” Each student drew a self-portrait and then passed it along to another student who made a new portrait on the back, adding more great qualities they see in that person. It was a fun activity to show how we often don’t see ourselves as others do. It reminded the girls of their strengths and great qualities.

One of the other activities today was an invitation for students to write down their goals for a gender-equal future. These were then posted on boards in the Great Court to inspire and remind us that we can all work towards an equitable future.

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