International Women’s Day: A Student’s Reflection

Shikka S (Year 9), Chief Contributor

Wednesday 8th of March marked International Woman’s Day: a day of celebration and a tribute to all the incredible women who have and continue to inspire women in contemporary society. But it is also a day to reflect on the unjust treatment that still affects women – gender inequality, women’s reproductive rights and violence against women.  

This significant day was first celebrated in 1909 by the socialist party in America promoting women’s right to vote. From not having access to voting rights, education and employment to winning Nobel prizes, serving their country in the military and working hard every day to provide for their family. Women have excelled since the 18th century and built a name and reputation today. 

Women in History: 

One of these women includes Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly a plane across the Atlantic and the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. Earhart fought against other people’s judgment following her love for STEM, becoming one of the best in her field to this day. 

Another woman in STEM who we highly recognise to this day is Marie Curie. Marie Curie was a Polish physicist who was the first woman to ever win a Noble prize, the first person to win a Nobel prize twice and the first person to win a noble prize in two different scientific fields. A few of her many successes are the portable X-ray she invented to treat soldiers, and her discovery of elements radium and polonium.  

These two women have redefined womanhood, by excelling beyond the gender confines of the time and pursuing their passion. The legacy of these two women, along with many others, contribute to the number of women pursuing STEM despite the challenges they face.  

Malala Yousafzai is another example of an extraordinary female to celebrate on International Women’s Day. Malala is an education activist, motivated by her represssed life at the hands fo the Taliban terrorist group. She has utilised her experiences to give advocate for every girl to be educated, especially in war-torn countries where women are treated as targeted.  

Women at WCC:  

However, is our school doing enough to provide an equitable environment for all females in the college?  

Although the school is doing a lot to maintain an anti-misogynistic environment, many female students have experienced moments where have expressed feeling restricted due to their gender within the College Community. 

 Here is what some girls have said: 

“It always triggers me when I hear teachers say can I have some big, strong boys to carry a table, or when people say we can’t do boys verse girls in PE because the boys will obviously win.” 

“It’s not just in the classrooms, a huge sum of the female cohort has experienced judgement or criticism because of their appearance or personality.” 

“People always say to me that people only like girls because of their body and it makes me feel like I am always being watched.”  

“I find that I and other girls are being pushed down if we get overweight or have another flaw, but to men it’s normal and fine. I feel like no matter what you will be teased and pushed down.” 

“Many girls could argue that it is hard to be themselves at school because of the judgment they face, and that there is much needed action by the school to make the college a place where females can be themselves despite other people’s opinion.” 

“I find it weird that the school celebrates Pi day but does nothing for International Women’s Day. If International Women’s Day is a day to appreciate and raise awareness for women, then why are we as a college not doing anything?” 

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women and work towards the changes we want to see in the future.  

While it must be acknowledged that the school provides girls with equal opportunities within subjects and co-curriculars, it must be highlighted that many female students are opting for more awareness around the casual marginalization of women.  

How do you think we can improve this issue at WCC?