FROM THE Principal T
here is a quiet revolution, which is taking place in the mountains, along the streams, in the cities, and in the small villages in many parts of the developed and developing world. This revolution has nothing to do with warlords and violent clashes, but it has everything to do with books, learning and empowering girls. In a photo essay published in 2016, featured in the ‘Journey of Hope’ magazine, journalist Hannah White travelled to such places as Kabul, Tajikistan and Central Asia, to witness girls and women battling access to education who held chalkboards declaring themselves ‘Unstoppable’ in this pursuit. It is no secret: girls and women can be an unstoppable force for social change. Global Fund for Women believes in the power of girls and women to change their own lives, to write their own stories, and to create their own futures. We know that girls and young women can be incredible changemakers with potential to change their own communities and countries and build the world they want to see. There has to be access to health care and education for both boys and girls and we know that this is not the case in many parts of the world. Education is a powerful life-changing gift; extending access to girls and women can be
2 | Leadership
threatening to some regimes and male-dominated societies, but the benefits are demonstrably high. We know that investing in the education of all women and especially those in developing countries, has exponential benefits. Women put ninety per cent of their income back into their families and the wellbeing of their children, and we know that a child born to a mother who can read is fifty per cent more likely to survive past the age of five. Our Strathcona girls are committed to the contribution to their sisters whose situations are difficult and they regularly find ways to speak out and write about social issues and to contribute financially and through service where possible. Many of our alumni work or have worked in areas of the world which benefit from their education and the skills they have developed professionally. Those who have gone before us here at Strathcona have left a legacy of giving and a commitment to social justice. Our Strategic Vision Guiding Principle 2 states that we want our girls ‘To act judiciously and purposefully in contribution to the world’. Service to others and to community is an enduring value of the School. Our contribution to humanity is grounded in principles such as service, justice, respect, generosity and courage. In
order to engage ethically with the world and act as agents of change where necessary, we seek to instil in our girls a balance of knowledge and a set of skills including leadership, empathy, eloquence and confidence. Two of the School’s other Guiding Principles are; ‘To be courageous and creative in thinking, learning and research’ and ‘To be resourceful, resilient and optimistic in spirit’. We believe that these principles are important to assist us put in place programs and experiences, which allow our girls to have a strong voice in their School and to develop the strength and confidence to believe in themselves. Girls in schools such as ours certainly access excellent education and have privileged lives compared to their sisters in some other environments. However, Dove, which has the slogan ‘Girls Unstoppable’, conducted global research recently, which showed that six in 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel badly about their looks. It was found in the global research undertaken, that a troubling six out of 10 girls quit the activities they love, avoid raising their hands in class, and stop taking chances like stepping up for leadership positions or trying out for sports, all because they feel badly about how they look.