Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    International Women's Day Evening

    Article by Ms Elana Cole

    International Women’s Day Evening

    On Wednesday the 6th of March, our College celebrated International Women’s Day with an ‘Evening with Christine Nixon.’ 

    Staff and guests were treated to delicious canapés and local wine, served by our VCAL students, before enjoying Christine’s address.

    Christine Nixon was the 19th Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, the first woman to become a police commissioner in Australia. She led 14,000 staff, operating across more than 500 locations and oversaw an annual budget of $1.7 billion.

    Prior to this role, Christine was a New South Wales Policewoman for over 30 years, attaining the rank of Assistant Commissioner.

    Christine spoke of her rise to the top, her view on women in law enforcement and in the greater business sphere, how to build leadership and teamwork within work places, and the notion of applying for promotions without any reservations.

    The inaugural evening was insightful, reflective, and inspiring, and it is hoped to be an annual event at Saint Ignatius College.

    Ms Elana Cole

    Reflections on an Evening with Christine Nixon by Ms. Rosemary Kelleher, Education Librarian.

    My first impressions of Christine were vastly different from my expectations. I was expecting that the woman who had become the first Police Commissioner in Victoria to be a highly ambitious and driven woman. Someone who was hard and intimidating. But while she was mingling with us for drinks and canapes at the inaugural International Women’s Day Evening at Saint Ignatius College,  I was confronted instead with a gentle, giving woman who had a passion for people.

    As she spoke, I found that time and time again her belief in people is what drives her. The belief that the women around her could do more and be more. The belief that organisations are better with a wider variety of people leading them, be they women or other minority groups. But most of all, she believes that leaders don’t have to have the answers. If you ask, your people already know how to fix problems, you just need to support them to do it.

    So how did Christine become the first female police commissioner for Victoria? She applied for the job. At the time she didn’t really believe she would get it – she was from New South Wales, and she was a woman, but she had a go anyway. Her message to other women was clear: have a go, and don’t listen to people saying “but women don’t…”.

    Ms. Rosemary Kelleher

     

    Reflections of a young woman at Saint Ignatius College about being a young woman today:

    "Being a girl in today’s society means I am part of a community of bold, determined, brave women all around the world. As a year 12 student, the question I hear a million times is, “what do you want to do next year?” I am grateful to be a young woman today because my career options are not limited by my gender. I could be an engineer, a mechanic, a surgeon, an electrician or a CEO. A young woman just like me wouldn’t have dreamed of being these things 50 years ago.

     My experiences at Saint Ignatius College have taken me to places like Timor Leste, and have challenged my world view and my perception of what is important in life. Less than 40% of countries provide girls and boys with equal access to education and I hope to help to change this in a small way by volunteering in a girl’s education program in a developing country in my gap year.

    In society today, men and women all around the world are creating positive change for gender equality. But there is still a long way to go. Australia has only had one female prime minister and only 7% of the CEO’s of Australia’s top 200 companies are female. I am lucky to have women in my life who are politicians, CEO’s and school principals, because they show me that women can hold leadership roles. I hope one day I can be a role model to young girls to show them that they can do anything.

    As a student leader at Saint Ignatius College I am proud to stand alongside young women and men who support gender equality, and I hope that our International Women’s Day celebrations will empower younger students to promote #BalanceForBetter.

    Ruby Mangelsdorf  Academic Captain, Year 12

     

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